Showing posts from September, 2016

On Discrimination, Prejudice, and Ignorance

With the recent refugee wave from countries with a Muslim majority, we have been flooded by a wave of fear-fueled propaganda against them. Muslims treat their women badly. Muslims are violent. Muslims are this, Muslims are that. The Koran says this, the Koran says that. Europe is not what it used to be, it is getting full of Muslims. After living four years in Brussels and dealing with plenty of Moroccans and Turks, these clich├ęs never matched my experience. I teach that science has flourished and been repressed in Muslim and Christian countries at different epochs, so the obstacle has been not so much the religion but how the institutions use a religion. Just like Jihadists use Islam to promote their agenda, you can interpret other texts for your own ends, and then you have Nazism and the KKK. Humanism and reason should be beyond religions. But the Koran says kill all the infidels. And the Bible says kill all the blasphemous. It is true that terrorists groups are using Islam to brai

New draft: Adaptive Cities: A Cybernetic Perspective on Urban Systems

Cities are changing constantly. All urban systems face different conditions from day to day. Even when averaged regularities can be found, urban systems will be more efficient if they can adapt to changes at the same speeds at which these occur. Technology can assist humans in achieving this adaptation. Inspired by cybernetics, we propose a description of cities as adaptive systems. We identify three main components: information, algorithms, and agents, which we illustrate with current and future examples. The implications of adaptive cities are manifold, with direct impacts on mobility, sustainability, resilience, governance, and society. Still, the potential of adaptive cities will not depend so much on technology as on how we use it. Adaptive Cities: A Cybernetic Perspective on Urban Systems Carlos Gershenson, Paolo Santi, Carlo Ratti