Bilderberg Meeting 2015 – AI and Cyber-Security

From the 11th June until the 14th June, the Bilderberg Meeting 2015 takes place in Austria. This annual private meeting brings together people from government, from business, from academia and from think-tanks to talk about topical issues around the world. I’ve not had an invite this year, but I’d certainly be willing to attend some time if an invite did come through.

This years Bilderberg Meeting is particularly interesting to me as two of the topics are quite close to my heart. That is:

  • Artificial Intelligence, and,
  • Cyber-security

Many of my readers will know that my current PhD research, at the University of Bristol Intelligent Systems Laboratory, involves the application of data-mining and knowledge-engineering (both forms of Artificial Intelligence) to security, co-funded by British Telecom (BT) and the EPSRC.
Plus, in August 2015 I’ll be starting a Senior Research Assistant position at the University of South Wales, in their Information Security Lab, to begin research/consultancy/teaching in intelligent cyber-security of knowledge-bases.
Not forgetting my pre-PhD industry background in knowledge bases (inc. Semantic Web, Linked Data and Open Data), and also my founding of and continuing involvement in the Computational Intelligence Unconferences.

However, I wanted to highlight the who’s-who in AI and Cyber-Sec at this years Bilderberg Meeting:

  • Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. A consultant in the realms of cyber-security and healthcare. In my opinion she would a great candidate for the Computational Intelligence Unconference.
  • Franco Bernebè. He has a lot of interest in ICT, Telecoms and also renewable energy. No doubt that Franco will have an interest in hearing the latest details of Artificial Intelligence and Cyber-security, and would probably be able to give some valuable insight to the unfortunately-closed-door Bilderberg Meeting.
  • Patrick Calvar, French Internal Security, seems to have an interest in surveillance. He’ll have his own experience in surveillance, both online and offline.
  • Ann Dowling. Although she is not involved in artificial intelligence or cybersecurity (she is in mechanical engineering), she is the current head of the Royal Academy of Engineering here in the United Kingdom – which has an interest in both AI and cyber-sec.
  • Regina Dugan, Vice President for Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects at Google. Not much to say about this, other than she work with Ray Kurzweil at Google. Google are well-known for being researchers and developers of advanced robotics, advanced data mining techniques and all kinds of other things, including our next entry who is also at the Bilderberg meeting this year…
  • Demis Hassabis, a strong researcher in all things relating to strong AI, connectionist AI (including “deep mining”) and neuro-science. He started DeepMind which was acquired by Google last year. He’ll certainly be able to provide an academic perspective to the meeting.
  • Wolfgang Hesoun, CEO of Seimens Austria. Seimens has a keen interest in Cyber-security, and also (although slightly less so) artificial intelligence.
  • Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and entrepreneur in the IT industry. LinkedIn has an interest in data mining and data storage, and I am sure that Reid will be able to provide interesting insight from a business-social-media perspective on both AI and cyber-sec. He actually started his career in user-experience architecture, so I imagine that he has the technology knowledge to back-up his business head. Back in the day he was also involved with PayPal, and more recently is a “Board Observer” of a bitcoin technology company, which will obviously have cyber-security interests.
  • Wolfgang Ischinger is the chair of the Munich Security Conference, and a German Diplomat involved in Security of all forms. There is a Cyber-security activities section of the Munich Security Conference, assisting with a Cyber Security Summits.
  • Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir. Palantir are heavily involved in both artificial intelligence and cyber-security, they do a lot of contract work with both the private and public sectors. Interestingly Alex’s PhD was in “neoclassical social theory”
  • Konrad Kogler, Director General of Public Security in Austria. Coming from a policing background Konrad probably won’t be too “hot” on cyber technologies, but he’ll have a general interest in it, and it would be interesting to hear how the police fit in with certain aspects.
  • André Kudelski, Chair/CEO of the Kudelski group which is involved in digital TV, in physical-access systems and in cyber-security. André has a background in R&D and Engineering, so I suspect he’ll know his technology.
  • General Jim Mattis, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Has a strong interest in all things security, and the experience to boot. Goodness knows if he has any experience of cyber-defence, but I’m sure he’ll have an opinion on it. Also note that he is at Stanford University, which is very well known for its computer science (including artificial intelligence) – does he have any insight into other projects at Stanford?
  • Pierre Maudet, “Vice-President of the State Council, Department of Security, Police and the Economy of Geneva”, he is a social liberal (but an economic conservative) and also a member of a Ecology/Green think-tank. He is one of the council members in charge of security for Switzerland, which is well known as being one of the most secure countries on the planet. It would be interesting to hear what he has to say.
  • Jim Messina of The Messina Group. The Messina Group pride themselves at being “data-driven strategists”. They worked on the Barack Obama campaigns, and they’ve recently crossed the political spectrum and the ocean to work with the Conservative Party here in the United Kingdom. They do a lot of data analysis, and so I am sure that Jim will be able to provide some insight into how data can be shaped-by, and shape, society.
  • Peter Thiel,  co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and the very famous Elon Musk. Co-founded Palantir (of which Alex Karp will also be in attendance at the Bilderberg meeting). He funds various businesses, social ventures, philanthropic adventures and interesting research. He has funded much work on Artificial Intelligence via the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI). Economically he is libertarian, but he seems to be somewhat socially liberal, and in general seems to be quite a nice person from what I can tell, and what I have heard from my friends and contacts who have met him. He is also involved in things such as longevity research, technological singularity and human sustainability.

These are just some of the many Participants to the Bilderberg Meeting of 2015. It is a shame that the result of the meeting is not public, as it would be very very interesting to see what was discussed and what opinions these humans take. Perhaps someday I’ll be invited and will find out for myself, but even if that happened I would probably be sworn to secrecy. I guess at the moment we can only speculate, and see what happens over the next few months and years.

I would, however, like to invite those listed above, or those involved in various companies I have listed, or anybody else interested to come along to the Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015 (CIUUK15). We are looking for attendees, for speakers and for sponsors. Any way that you can help will be appreciated, just contact me. CIUUK15 will happen at Kings College London on the 15th August 2015. Perhaps we can have our own Bilderberg-style meeting at the unconference, just a bit more open. We certainly have people attending who are at the cutting-edge of their fields, along with people in academia, in business and in the public sector.

Daniel Lewis
* My Computational Intelligence Unconference Email Address: daniel <<at>> ciunconference <<dot>> org

CIUUK15 Update

I’ve just sent out a message (similar to what is below) to our Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015 attendees…

At the time of writing we have 109 days to go (event is on 15th August 2015), we have 100 people already registered (our capacity is over 200) – 7 of which have given us some crowdfunding,  we have 5 speakers already confirmed (with much more time and space for additional talks/workshops). A very big thank you to those who have registered, and if you haven’t registered yet, then go do it now (website: http://ciunconference.org/uk/2015 )

But we need help! Here is how you might be able to help:

(1) Social Networking: We need help to get the word out about the event. If you have a twitter, facebook, linkedin or other social network account then it would be great if you could advertise the event. You can use our official Short-URL bit.ly/ciuuk15 and our official tag #CIUUK15

(2) Sponsorship: We are in urgent need of sponsorship. We’ve got to raise funds to cover the cost of the venue and the food & drink. We are doing our best to keep costs down and get the best deals. Ideally we need a few corporate sponsors, and preferably quite soon, however smaller organisations and personal donations will be very welcome (including crowdfunding offers). If you work for an organisation who could offer some sponsorship in return for marketing/advertising and bespoke audience-engagement, or if you could personally offer to cover the costs of attendance (which is roughly £60 a head), then please let me know as soon as possible. Even if you have a contact in a related company which might be interested in helping us out, then let them know and let me know. I will reiterate, we are non-profit, and are entirely organised by volunteers, and all incomings will go straight into venue/catering costs. The event is heavily dependent on the generosity of our sponsors and volunteers.

(3) Meet-ups/Hackathons: We have a seminar room, and we’re keen on having guest meet-ups and guest hackathons use the space for an hour or two each. So, if you lead or are a part of a (related) meet-up or hackathon, then please get in touch.

(4) Tutorials/Workshops: The same seminar room could also be used by a business or organisation for a tutorial/seminar/workshop. However, we may ask for a donation if the business is for-profit. Feel free to email me to find out more.

(5) Talks: We are also in need of more talks. Short talks and Long talks. If it’s a talk by a business then the business might also want to think about helping to sponsor the event. If its a talk from a personal perspective, or a very technical perspective, then the talk can be done freely (libre et gratis).

(6) Volunteering: We will need on the day volunteers. Volunteers will help manage the rooms and the microphones, and will help give out the badges/lanyards at start. We also need people to: bring cameras (still and moving); to help live tweet the event; and to blog before/during/after the event.

Contact me now if you can help. My email address is:
daniel [at] ciunconference [dot] org

More information about the event is on our website:
http://ciunconference.org/uk/2015
Kings College, London - 15th August 2015 – 10:00-18:00

On behalf of the organisation team, thank you for your interest, thank you (in advance) for your help, and to those of you attending, I look forward to seeing you on the 15th August 2015.

Daniel Lewis
* Chief Co-organiser of the Computational Intelligence Unconference UK 2015
* Founder & Chair of the Computational Intelligence Unconference Association (a Non-profit Unincorporated Association)
- Email: daniel [at] ciunconference [dot] org

Run up to the UK General Election 2015

When I began this blog I was intending to keep politics out of it, but here in the UK we’re in the run up to the election of national members of parliament, and it is rather exciting. I shall attempt to keep this reasonably impartial, but most importantly a rational post and one relevant to the present and future status of humanity.

The last UK general election (in 2010) was the first general election in many years to have been more than a “two horse race”. For many years we had just a two-party system of the Labour Party (who were in power from 1997 to 2010), and the Conservative Party. But in 2010, the Liberal Democrat Party (aka “LibDems”) became rapidly more popular, appealing to society who felt that the government had been treating society with too much of an authoritarian hand (and not very socially-liberal), and without openness in terms of the economy. It was very unlikely that the LibDems would have received a majority to rule the government from 2010, but it looked like they would increase their MPs and their share of the votes. The result was that Conservatives and Labour were not too far from being neck and neck, with the Conservatives winning more MPs and votes than Labour, and the LibDems came third place.

The LibDems, traditionally being both economically and societally “Centre-Left” had the option of either helping Labour to form a government, or helping the Conservatives form a government. Labour, was also, traditionally, a “Centre-Left” political party – and a coalition between the two would have been more politically similar. However, the talks broke down, and after all, more people voted for the the Conservatives than for Labour, and so the LibDems entered into talks with the Conservatives, and managed to form a government.  The Conservatives are very firmly a “Centre-Right” political party (both economically and socially). This Centre-Right-Centre-Left coalition is not so strange, the sister parties in Europe of both the LibDems and the Conservatives have been in coalition in national governments before, from what I understand they tend to offset some of their more radical policy-pledges, and try to implement basic social liberalism, and a strong capitalist private sector (i.e. neo-liberalism).

Now, whenever two or more parties come together to form a coalition, it is obvious that neither party (particularly junior member(s)) is going to be able to implement every single one of their manifesto items. An example of this is that the LibDems strongly promised to remove fees for university study (which helped the LibDems receive many student votes!), the Conservatives did not allow them to implement that policy, and in fact university fees have risen. On the other hand, the LibDems did manage to secure a referendum on the general election voting system to try to move away from First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and implement the Alternative Vote (AV) system, which is a preferential voting system (i.e. you order the candidates by your preference, and so if your first choice doesn’t get in, then your second choice will – meaning that every vote counts, and tactical voting is prevented). This referendum was done, but unfortunately was not voted for by the general public, and we are still stuck with the FPTP system, and the general public still feels like they have  to do tactical voting (i.e. voting for their 2nd or 3rd choice, when they feel their 1st choice “will never get in”). Psshht! It just doesn’t make sense – even if AV wasn’t the best system, it would have been a step forwards towards a proportional voting system. We’ve also had Scotland holding a referendum for independence, which was voted against by the Scottish people, but the result is that Scotland is getting more and more governmental power in their Scottish Parliament (which is good in my opinion), and also the Scottish people are becoming more enthusiastic in politics.

Anyway, we’ve had a LibDem – Conservative coalition for almost 5 whole years now, and members of both parties have been increasingly irritated by their own party. In fact, I used to be a member of the Liberal Democrats, but left last year simply because they officially stated that they want to be the middle-road between Labour and the Conservatives (meaning a removal of the “left” from “Centre-Left”, becoming a purely Centrist party). The Conservatives, also, were irritated by how much the Liberal Democrat dominated coalition policy.

Now it comes to the current situation.  The fact that we had a strong three-party dialogue in parliament in the past 5-6 years, and done so in such a public way (on TV, radio, and so much on the internet, especially via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter), means that the public is seeing that politics does not have to be about two political parties battling out. It can be much more than that, there are many different political parties out there, and many independent candidates (i.e. candidates not associated with a political party).

Two entire-UK “minor” parties have received a sharp increase in members and support. The first is the Green Party, a strongly socialist (“left”), anti-austerity party with a clear environmental and sustainability agenda, and all about doing the best for the common people in an anti-authoritarian way. The other is the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which is a strongly-pro-austerity, strongly capitalist party (“right”) and strongly authoritarian with an anti-immigrant and anti-european-union agenda. Both the Greens and UKIP have fully-costed manifestos, this is the first year that UKIP have a fully-costed manifesto, and the Green Party have always had a fully-costed manifesto as far as I’ve known them! I should add that obviously the costings are different, and their approaches are very different.

The Greens now have over 60,000 members in the whole of the UK, which is more than the membership number of the LibDems and UKIP, but not as many (yet!) as Labour or the Conservatives. I should add that I am now a member of the Green Party, as they are very close to my personal political views, much more than the LibDems ever were.

However, there is another aspect of this election, and that is regionalism. The Scottish National Party (SNP) is strongly on the rise due to the new found enthusiasm of the Scots for politics. The Welsh have also seen the enthusiasm of the Scots, and have a strong desire to have more powers given to the Welsh Assembly, which means that Plaid Cymru (which is “Welsh Party” in the wonderful Welsh language, it is said in anglicised way as “Ply-d Cumree”) is also on the rise. Both the SNP and Plaid Cymru, other than being regionalist and federalist, are “centre-left” (both economically and societally), they are strongly anti-austerity and have quite a substantial belief in sustaining our environment here in the UK. In the European Parliament & Union, the SNP and Plaid Cymru sit with each other as part of the European Free Alliance (EFA), which is in union with the European Green Party and the European Pirate Party. The SNP and Plaid Cymru are therefore friendly (and understandably so) with the Green Party here in the UK. The number of SNP and Plaid Cymru candidates could mean that they could impose some kind of “centre-left” coalition in government, and if they aren’t in cabinet, then they will certain provide a strong radical, anti-austerity, centre-left voice in the opposition.

So, we therefore have a total of 7 political parties getting a good amount of media attention. The two/three traditionally “big players” being:

  • the Conservatives,
  • the Labour Party,
  • the Liberal Democrat Party,

The two other UK-wide political parties:

  • the Green Party,
  • UKIP,

We then have the two main regionalist parties:

  • The SNP in Scotland
  • Plaid Cymru in Wales

This is without even going into much detail about Northern Ireland, which has its own political parties in the left, right and centre. These could have some kind of influence in Westminster too.

This election, which will happen on the 7th May 2015, is going to be very interesting. My message to UK voters would be that this is no longer a two-party race, and you should not vote tactically, vote with both your heart and your head. If you feel that the Green Party (for example) won’t get in because Labour and the Tories are too strong in your area, don’t vote tactically because there might actually be hundreds of others in your constituency that think the same, and its only going to take vote-share change to change the elected candidate (if not this time then certainly next when people realised that the vote-share has changed). Vote with conviction and enthusiasm, and share your views. Do it rationally, and do it with the welfare of humanity in mind!

There is one final thing that I would like to add. I am saddened that candidates from all parties, but I’ve noticed particularly from the Labour Party, have become increasingly like robots. They’ll answer one question with an answer, then the next question which attempts to get different information out, they just use the same answer with the same words but perhaps in a slightly different order. Every party does this. The Labour Party does this in every answer, it feels like they have succumbed to an American approach to politics, incredibly polished but also fearful that its going to say something wrong. The Conservatives are using the word “chaos” too much. The LibDems are using the “middle-road” too much. I just wish that they could all just think for themselves, rather than churning out the output of a PR engine. Its far too materialistic for my liking.

Let’s change politics. Let’s change government. Let’s improve society!

For Freedom! For Equality! For Community!

Thoughts on… What will happen in 2015?

At this time of year, like many people, I tend to reflect on what has happened in the previous year, and what this year will bring. In the past I’ve blogged about my thoughts on what we might see as a community in the year ahead. Stay with me, as my (for want of a better word) “predictions,” tend to be a little different from the usual crystal ball blog posts out there on the web. Primarily because of my interests aren’t just in tech or science.

First of all, I want to say that this year is going to be a big one for me. I’ll be reaching 3 decades of age in the middle of the year. Beki and I will have been married 5 years this coming August. I’m also plan to fully complete my PhD in Artificial Intelligence & Data Mining (or more officially ” Engineering Mathematics (Intelligent Systems)”), and hope to have secured a postdoctoral position by the end of this year (please do let me know if you’re interested in employing me or working with me!). I’ll also progress from Journeyman to Freeman status in the City of London Livery “the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.” We’ll also be running the second Computational Intelligence Unconference (CIUUK15), and I hope to start planning other unconferences in 2016. Finally, I’m also hoping to progress from Deacon to Priest in my very liberal (and Science-friendly!) independent church.

Enough about me though, on to the societal forecast…

Politics in 2015!

In the United Kingdom, over the past couple of years, we’ve rather unfortunately seen a rise in ring-wing politics in the form of the political party known as UKIP. This is largely due to distrust amongst the population of the main three political parties here (the Conservatives (“Tories”), the Liberal Democrats (“LibDems”) and the Labour Party), why is there distrust? Well we had two terms of a Labour office, which saw terrorism spread, wars occur, prices of oil and housing rise, and the destruction of main party socialism (i.e. the Labour Party slowly became less and less socialist). We then, in 2010, had an election result leading to a hung parliament, the Centre-Right Tories joined forces with the Centre-Left Radical LibDems. The result of that has been more things getting privatised, the excessive rise of university tuition fees, oil prices rising gradually (although more recently falling), various things being taxed, and various other things not being taxed, it has also destroyed the publics belief that the LibDems are leftward leaning at all. People in the UK are searching for another option. Many people, unfortunately, like to blame other people, and blame is what UKIP do best (they are a traditionalist and nationalist political party with a neoliberal economic perspective). So the right-wing UKIP has seen a rise in interest. This is bad news. However, we’ve also seen a rise in support for the Green Party (which is centre-left/left-wing), as well as the SNP in Scotland and Plaid Cymru in Wales (which are both centre-left), so perhaps not all is bad.

What does this have to do with 2015? Well it is General Election year here in the UK, where the population will go to the polls in May and vote for a new parliament. So here is my prediction…

Distrust in the three main political parties will continue to rise. This means that more people will begin to move away from what the three main political parties see as the “centre of politics”, to political ideologies at the extremities. As 2014 saw a significant rise in nationalist neoliberalist agenda of UKIP.  This year, 2015, there will be more hardcore socialists and communists coming to light. However, in order to combat the right wing, they will have to empathise. This empathy will come in the form of anti-authoritarianism and anti-statism, yes, we’ll start to see a rise in ideologies of anarcho-socialism, libertarian socialism, Trotskyism and anything that combines decentralisation with strong communal welfare. We just have to look at Spain and Green to see their rise in radical socialism (in the form of Podemos and Syriza respectively).

This might be slow, and it may not make a significant impact on the general election, but I suspect that by the end of the year it will be making more impact.

Politics and Technology

I would like to couple this with technology though, as something big is happening behind the scenes. This big thing originates from technology is now reaching every part of our lives, and actually making us live healthier and more sociable lives. It can be used as a force for good, and I think that gone are the times when people think tech is bad simply based on a perception of the masses watching television for endless amounts of hours. You just have to look at the CES 2015 exhibition happening at the moment, to see some wonderful things (including for sustainability of the natural environment! – e.g. the electric scooter “Gogoro” will attempt to make low pollution travel in urban areas). With this is a sense that technology really can help the welfare of humanity, this is good (because I believe it can!).

Coupled with this individualism (in otherwords libertarian) perspective living in a communal welfare system (in otherwords socialist), that I think is going to be on the rise, we will see technology fitting in very nicely indeed.

A few of organisations to look out for are:

There is one word to look out for, and this is a very positive word… techno-progressivism.

 

Technologies and Sciences

  • This year I think we will see very significant progress in terms of preventative medicine for cancer. I think this will at first involve analysing our bodies cheaply and easily before we have cancer. So that we can try to stop it in its tracks before we it even develops its early stages. I think this is likely to involve DNA and/or RNA analysis on a large scale.
  • Public and private organisations will shift from just green living, and especially from “greenwashing”, perspectives into a bright green evironmentalist perspective. With particular advances in bright green architecture, but obviously we’ve already seen advances in “smart lighting” and “smart heating,” and that will continue to see uptake by organisations as well as individuals.
  • The rise of privately-funded space project. Not just SpaceX, and other private organisations, but also home-builds. Think home-made quadcopter drones that can easily fly very high, maybe into space ;-)
  • At least one significant and highly publicised study on the positive results of meditation will be released. It would be great if this was related to the relation between meditation and the length of telomeres, which apparently there have been a few studies on already.
  • “Smart clothing” – I think we’ll start to see wearable technology on clothes in retail shops that you see on the high-street. Prices will be quite high at first, and totally unrepresentative to the cost it would be to make it at home, but it’ll begin to reach the masses.
  • There might be a co-operation between bitcoins (or another cryptocurrency) and credit unions. Which would be very neat!
  • I don’t think that computers will see superintelligence this year, but artificial intelligence tools and techniques will continue to be updated and improved… possibly with a bit more effort, and possibly making them a lot more polished.

 

These are just some thoughts. They are based on some insight, but it is all just for fun really, and I don’t in any way guarantee these things happening. Feel free to comment, or to get in touch directly.

Thank you for reading.

Daniel

Thoughts on… X-mu Fuzzy Applications: Wind Energy

So as part of a GW4 Alliance Collaboration between me (Daniel Lewis, at the University of Bristol) and Tibin Joseph (at Cardiff University), we have put our collective minds together and used the X-mu approach for current controllers in Wind Energy Farms. It is based on existing work which handles errors in auto-tuning current controllers for sending electricity from wind farms over long distances.

The result, so far, is a short report with some initial findings. The report is informal, and is accessible as a PDF via:

“Offshore Wind Energy Transmission with Multi Terminal High Voltage DC grids (MT-HVDC) and Fuzziness”

Web address: http://vanirsystems.com/static/GW4_Collab_FuzzyCurrents.pdf

The hope is that we can transform this initial report into a publishable piece, however your comments will be warmly received if you have any.

I’ll leave any further description for the time being, but please do continue to read this blog to keep updated – as I’ll be describing the X-mu method in more detail, and will have some tutorials uploaded shortly. I am sure that you can follow Tibin’s progress on the MEDOW project also.

Many thanks to Tibin, and also the GW4 Alliance.

Thoughts on… The X-mu Library (An Introduction)

OK, so one of the many outputs of my PhD Research and Development is a software library in the python programming language for what we call the “X-mu Approach” to Fuzzy Set Theory. I’ve released this library as free and open source software via github ( danieljohnlewis/xmu-python ), and I’ve started to build an online calculator… but I’m not quite ready to make that public quite yet (although if you’re up for testing it, then please do get in touch!)

Something is fuzzy when it has a graded membership… what I mean by this is that subjectively something can be categorised to a certain degree. So it might be “lightly raining” or “very heavily raining”, they are fuzzy terms, whereas “its either raining or its not” is what we call a binary term.

So, in traditional fuzzy. A membership function takes in a value (e.g. millimetres of rain per hour) and returns a value between 0 and 1, representing how much it is that term/category (e.g. “very heavy rain”). This value between 0 and 1 is called the membership value, or mu (well, the greek letter μ).

The X-mu (or X-μ) approach, does the opposite (or rather the “inverse”). Which gives us some neat things. It highlights what we call the interval nature of a fuzzy membership function, and when we take those intervals as symbolic/algebraic equations and push that through an algorithm we retain the full meaning of a fuzzy membership function all the way through that algorithm. We also see speed gains in comparison to traditional methods, purely because of the symbolic nature.

Anyway, I hope that I have discussed this reasonably – I started off quite simple, and got a little more technical at the end… but my purpose was to highlight that my X-mu library is available for perusal, and the online calculator for the X-mu approach can be tested (for people that contact me anyway).

This will be the first post of, probably, many about this library. I hope to show off the calculator a bit more in future posts. I also hope to give you a tutorial about downloading and using the library for yourselves. Then I hope to discuss the uses of the library – in things like data mining and robotics, etc.

In the meantime, if you have any questions then please do comment, or get in touch directly… its daniel [at] vanirsystems, and has a dot com at the end of it.

 

Thoughts on… belief

I’ve always attempted to make this blog an outlet for very rational thoughts, and I don’t intend to change that. However, I feel drawn to mention about a part of my life which is important to me, but may seem irrational to others.

I am ordained, currently as a deacon, but “in-training” for the priesthood. The ordination was into a small independent Church which has a very interesting history, and has members around the world. It can be classed as a Christian church, in that it follows the philosophies surrounding Christ. However, its theology is a little different from mainstream churches, and radically different from what we might call the fundamental/evangelical churches. The church that I am involved in is very liberal and inclusive, it is very open to ecumenical work and does not attempt to “convert”. However, it does have apostolic succession and does make use of ritual. Its theology could be classed as “gnostic” in that its members attempt to get to know the divine. The divine which is everything that we can perceive, it is not supernatural, but very natural. In this way, we approach theology with both belief and knowledge, and apply the tools of logic and scientific thought. Its members can engage with and build friendships with atheists and theists alike.

This part of me, which could be classed as spiritual beliefs and knowledge, is important to me. I value it greatly, and it permeates and intermingles with my political and ethical thoughts, and enriches my knowledge-base and altruistic tendencies. However, I am always worried about talking about to my friends and contacts in computer science / engineering / mathematics. The reason why I fear talking about it, is simply because I know that many class themselves as atheist, and I worry that they may discredit my work and opinion in other areas simply because I am involved in religious work.

On the one hand, how can I call myself Christian, when (for example) a large amount of loud Christians espouse a creationist viewpoint (whereas I follow a evolutionary perspective firmly found in science)? On the other hand, why do so many atheists seem to denounce all forms of religious belief when (for example) religion provides prayer and meditation to billions of people – which has been proven to improve cognitive function (e.g. here), not to mention the positive impact of societal/communal work that a local religious community can offer?

It is really tough. It also does not help when the big churches “just don’t get it” when it comes to issues such as equality of gender in the episcopate, or equality of differing sexualities. I think this is probably why I ended up in an independent church – it is small and distributed, it doesn’t have the silliness of bizarre traditions (e.g. we’ve had women bishops for many years, and we would be happy to marry same-sex couples), and it approaches theology and life really logically and sympathetically.

So, I am torn. I have a few options. I could either (1) fully integrate my lives as both an applied computational intelligence researcher and an ordained person, getting the most value out of my belief and knowledge network and being happy but being in constant fear that some people may discredit my work. Or, (2) I could keep them separate and have separate lives, and continue to be frustrated at some of the things espoused by both the christian communities and the atheist communities. Or (3) I could carry on “as-is”, sort of having separate lives, but sometimes mentioning it carefully and after much consideration – but then never really being open and also being quite worried that people will misunderstand because I’ve not explained adequately enough.

Perhaps, what is most important is actually living a life of love towards humanity, and doing my best for the future of humanity. Living altruistically and ethically.

I’d be interested in reading your thoughts on this – particularly from those involved in computer science, and particularly from those who class themselves as atheists.

Once again, I’d like to highlight that I in no way wish the reader to convert to my belief system. That is certainly not my intention. From my perspective you can believe what you want, providing it doesn’t hurt yourself, me, or anybody else. Freedom! Equality! Community!

I will continue to think about this issue. However, in the meantime… Your thoughts?

Thoughts on… wearable technology

I haven’t “broadcasted” this widely yet, but I am a participant in the 1st Dress/Sense Competition (2014), which is taking place over three Saturdays (separated by two weeks each). The competition brings together computer scientists, electrical engineers / engineering designers, medics, fashion designers – most are university students (either undergraduate or postgraduate). It also brings in quite a few school children (the youngest being 12 years old). The idea of the competition is to bring these people together, forming small teams, to brain storm and create prototypes of wearable technology for the health reasons, and they have to be comfortable and fashionable. It could be for the purpose of diagnosis, or improving the wellbeing of sufferers of particular diseases, or anything else. It could be physical or psychological health, or both. There is a secondary aim, and that is to ensure costs of the item is minimal, allowing us to provide welfare for sufferers without excessive bills or taxes. We are therefore using things like the LilyPad Arduino.

This is exactly the kind of competition I like, it is co-operative rather than violently competitive, it has a grand vision for the benefit of humanity, and it brings together people of different ages and with different backgrounds to innovate.

We need more of this humanity co-operation in life, not just for healthcare innovation (or tech innovation in general) but for other areas too – politics, education, sustainable energy, urban living, rural living, everything! I want our prime ministers and our presidents to start talking about co-operation, start talking about true community, start publicly talking with those co-operating, and talking with those in communities, and start being part of co-operating communities themselves.

Anyway, I digress. I’m attending this competition to give my knowledge of computer science (particularly artificial intelligence, but probably also a lot of programming knowledge), along with my own personal interests in cardiac health and also future of humanity. We’ve already done one Saturday, and we are due to formulate teams and ideas in the next Saturday. I am enjoying it immensely.

Thoughts on… my postdoctoral position (late 2015 / early 2016)

I’ve been thinking about what happens after my PhD, I am due to complete it around October/November 2015. I would love to know for sure that I’ll be at X University doing Y research and Z teaching. As I am a strong believer in transparency and openness, I’d like to open up my careers search. Below you’ll find some details about me and what I am looking for, and if you can help me in any way then I would love to hear from you. Please contact:
danieljohnlewis [at] gmail [dot] com


 

Who (name): Daniel John Lewis
Who (current detail): Daniel is a PhD student in Engineering Mathematics (Intelligent Systems) at the University of Bristol, where he is researching a form of fuzzy data mining over hierarchical data sets. Due to complete PhD in October/November 2015. He has also received teaching experience while at the University of Bristol, and has assisted with “widening participation” programmes.
Who (background detail): Before beginning his PhD he worked for a non-profit on a Linked Open Data EU-funded project (LOD2). Before that he has had numerous positions in Semantic Web / Linked Data Consultancy and Web / Software development.
Who (other detail): He is also an events organiser (voluntary, e.g. Computational Intelligence Unconference), and has written technical documents for numerous online (e.g. IBM developerWorks) and print outlets (e.g. .net Magazine).
Who (languages spoken): English (mother-tongue), Italian (improving), Spanish (very basic)
Who (currently where): Bristol, England, United Kingdom.
Who (previously where): Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom, and before that, Kent, England, United Kingdom.

Position wanted: Research position or Research+Teaching positions
To start: End of 2015 / Beginning of 2016
Location type wanted: A University or a Research institute. Public or private. I am only currently interested in university / research institute positions, and not for-profit business.
Location wanted: United Kingdom (preferably South England or South Wales), elsewhere in the European Union (preferably Italy or Italian-speaking Switzerland), or in the USA (preferably California), but open to other suggestions
Department wanted: Open to ideas, but could be Computer Science, Mathematics, Philosophy or Psychology
Research wanted: Can come with own ideas, or happy to work on existing ideas. Would be good to focus on Data Mining and/or Artificial Intelligence and/or Artificial General Intelligence. Preferably including the use of fuzzy set theory / fuzzy logic, would also be open to belief function research. Would also be happy to partake in research into Digital Humanities, Robotics and/or Smart Cities. Also happy to use my knowledge of Semantic Web / Linked Data.
Teaching: Would be happy to teach/lecture things relating to computer science, particularly artificial intelligence, logic and/or programming (primarily Python and/or C).

For more details about Daniel please visit his LinkedIn profile ( @danieljohnlewis ), and if you can assist with his search for a postdoctoral university position then get in touch via email. His personal email is:
danieljohnlewis [at] gmail [dot] com

(
Replacing the [at] with @, and the [dot] with .
This is for spam deterrence.
)

Thoughts on… mind hacking (part 2)

The following is a continuation of my previous post on “Thoughts on… mind hacking

I should highlight that I feel it is important to avoid greed and avoid being taken over by ego.

Greed is defined by the OED as:

Inordinate or insatiate longing, esp. for wealth; avaricious or covetous desire

and ego is defined by the OED as:

That which is symbolized by the pronoun I; the conscious thinking subject, as opposed to the non-ego or object

The question is, by attempting to reach our maximum potential are we giving into greed? I don’t think we are. I think if we reach our maximum potential, and want more, then I think that would be classed as greed. But just wanting to reach our maximum potential is not greed. There is a caveat though, it must be done for the primary reason of selflessness.

Giving oneself for the greater good is the ultimate goal. Of course, we are only human, and we are largely imperfect. The process of attempting to make oneself better, trying to reach maximum potential is crucial for trying to become an agent of the greater good. This means sometimes we need to pamper ourselves, this means we should try to work towards mental and physical sub-goals. This means doing the things we like to do (even if they are illogical/irrational). The goal must be for the good of the many, the goal must be altruistic living.

Its important to see ourselves as individuals within interconnected local and interconnected global societies. The well-being of ourselves has an impact on the well-being of others. The well-being of others has an impact on ourselves. When I say “others” I should also include nature and technology, as we are interconnected with nature and those things which are man-made, and so the well-being of nature and technology, are also important.