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It is not just reading: it is meeting other minds

Several years ago, a good friend of mine, also an avid reading like myself, asked me, “How many books are you reading?” “Books”, in plural, because he shared and still shares that passion for reading several books at the same time.

Times are different now and books are no longer as popula…

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How come “Captain America” always knows when I will be at a certain street?

Because of my work, several times a week I travel from east to west through the city where I live, always following the same direction and the same street, but seldom at the same time. Yet, regardless of the time of my trip, “Captain America” is always there. I have no idea how he knows my schedule.…

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Orwell’s dystopian world is now painfully obsolete

I recently found in the latest issue of a well-known academic journal an interesting argument: the best way to end the discrimination and exploitation of certain groups is to expand discrimination and exploitation to every group, without exclusions or distinctions.

Given the fact that the article…

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Today’s imagination is tomorrow’s reality

It is becoming increasingly clearer to me that the future will not be, but already is. And if we do not see it, it is not because it has not arrived yet, but because we have not taken our imagination to the necessary level of development to see the future and, in that way, allow the future to emerge…

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Bitter narcissism distorts the present and stops the future

The well-known myth of Narcissus –told, among others, by Ovid in his Metamorphosis– says that Narcissus, seeing his own image reflected on the still waters of a pond, decided to die thirsty to avoid distorting the image, his image, on the water. As it happens will all myths, Narcissus reveals psyc…

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Robots will match our intelligence. How difficult that will be?

At a recent conference in Sydney, Australia, Dr. Toby Walsh, an expert in artificial intelligence (AI), said that in a matter of years robots will “match humans” both in creativity and in intelligence. In fact, he said, it is possible that robots matching human intelligence will be a reality before …

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Interstellar asteroid or space probe from extraterrestrial civilization?

Francisco Miraval

When I was a child, I read as much as I could about the possibility of intelligent life on another planets. Now, as an adult, I would like to find intelligent life on this planet, but we will talk about that at a later time. However, I would like to share a few thoughts about th…

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How can we talk with our children in the age of Sophia and space children?

A man I never met in person recently called and asked me for advice about how to improve his communication with his own two teenagers, explaining the communication problems began two years ago when the family moved to the United States.

Obviously, communicating with teenagers is a challenge almos…

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How will you communicate with an artificial intelligence 100 times smarter than you?

This is a real, serious question: How are you planning to communicate with an artificial intelligence 100 times smarter than you? And that difference will last only up to the moment the artificial intelligence 100 times smarter than you develops or builds a new artificial intelligence hundreds of ti…

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The better the question, the better the answer

When I was still a college student, my mentor (Dr. Armando Vivante) consistently decided not to answer my questions, saying I didn’t know what I was asking because, had I known it, I would never asked what I asked. It took me many years to understand the wisdom of that approach.

That memory cam…

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We forget the past, ignore the present, and distort the future

Last week, for different reason, I spoke with several persons in high positions in their organizations, including CEOs, college professors, community leaders, and religious leaders. During the conversations, it was clear the don’t know the past, they barely understand the present, and they distort t…

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What can’t we see when we see what we see?

When I was a child, I wanted to learn how to play chess. I didn’t progress beyond the basic moves, but one day I was playing against another child and suddenly several people gathered around the table. I didn’t know why. They were smiling at me. A few minutes later, the mystery of the gathering was …

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Sadness, death emerge among the common thoughts of children and teens

A few days ago, I was exiting a local store when two elementary school students, clearly brother and sister, where walking right there and talking to each other. For a few seconds, I heard their conversation before they just walked away.

“I am sad”, said the boy, probably around 10.

“Is th…

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Whom are you going to believe if you keep lying to yourself?

With his well-known humor, Mark Twain once asked, “Whom are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” That question, with all its hilarity, is not as innocent as it looks because, after all, we see with our brains, not with our eyes.

Anais Nin expressed a similar thought when she said, “W…

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What would happen when robot teachers replace all human teachers?

Robot teachers are not new, but what is new is the growing number of robot teachers replacing human teachers in many countries. Even more interesting, children relate better to robot teachers than to human teachers.

Whatever that may be, experts say in the next 10 to 15 years robot teachers will …

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Should I teach Spanish or should I be a dishwasher at a restaurant?

Somebody recently sent me an ad from a local municipality in the area where I live looking for a Spanish instructor for adults. I do like to teach Spanish to adults, so I decided to take a closer to the ad.

Basically, they were looking for somebody with experience in adult education and specifica…

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Are we already beyond the point of no return of human stupidity?

Sometimes people ask me if I believe in intelligent life on other planets. I always answer by saying that my doubts are not about intelligent life on a distant planet, but about the possibility of intelligent life on this planet. After all, there are plenty of indications everywhere that, collective…

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Will “technological fusion” include or exclude humans?

I would like to ask a simple and direct question: Will we, humans, either now or in the near future, be included or excluded from the law of technological fusion?

I must confess I don’t know if such a law exists. Perhaps it does, but it is known by another name. Whatever the case, it should be ob…

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“Above all, you are human”, said the message. But, really?

“Remember that, above all, you are human”, said the last line of the message somebody sent me a few days ago. Yet, how and why should I remember my own humanness? And if I need to remember my humanness, it means obviously that I have already forgotten it.

The advice included in the message wa…

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If we lose our ability for amazement, we lose our ability to think

I was recently invited to do a presentation about a topic of my interest, the emerging future. After the initial formalities, I focused on Artificial Intelligence and on intelligent robots. The participants reacted with the deepest indifference and silence I have seen in a long time.

I shared wit…

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