Italiano:

 

 

 

Firenze, 85% dei cittadini a favore della tramvia.

 

 

Il sondaggio

Sempre secondo i dati raccolti dal Comune i cittadini hanno espresso giudizio positivo anche sullo stadio Franchi

 

 

 

 


 

“Firenze: I fiorentini promuovono la riqualificazione dell’area di Campo di Marte e lo sviluppo della rete tranviaria: è quanto emerge dalle due indagini statistiche (campione totale di 2400 residenti) realizzate dal Comune di Firenze per conoscere il gradimento sul progetto di ristrutturazione dello stadio Artemio Franchi e la riqualificazione dell’area di Campo di Marte e l’opinione dei cittadini sulle nuove linee della tramvia. Oltre l’85% dei fiorentini (per la precisione 85,3% nel complesso) giudica positivamente la tramvia e l’ampliamento delle reti tranviarie, è stato sottolineato nel corso della conferenza stampa a Palazzo Vecchio.

Oltre il 40% dei fiorentini quotidianamente passa dal Campo di Marte, sia perché ci vive, sia perché è collocato lì il luogo il luogo di studio o di lavoro sia perché comunque quotidianamente ci transita. L’84,6% dei fiorentini sono d’accordo che la ristrutturazione dello stadio sia molto importante per tutta la città, il 68,4% sono quelli più entusiasti. Coloro che invece pensano che questo progetto non sia importante per la città sono circa il 15%. Il quartiere 2, dove sono concentrati i lavori, è quello con il minore numero di persone che giudicano importante il progetto di ristrutturazione dello stadio ma con una percentuale, comunque, di oltre il 77%.  Oltre l’84% dei fiorentini pensa che la ristrutturazione dello stadio migliorerà la capacità attrattiva dell’area di Campo di Marte e sono oltre il 78% coloro che pensano che migliorerà la capacità attrattiva dell’intera città. Oltre il 72% ritiene che ci saranno positive ricadute sulla viabilità dell’area del Campo di Marte mentre circa il 69% pensa che gli effetti sulla viabilità saranno positivi sull’intera città.

L’83% pensa ritiene che questi lavori avranno effetti positivi sui collegamenti dei mezzi pubblici da e verso Campo di Marte mentre il 77% pensa che ci saranno effetti positivi sulla rete dei trasporti pubblici per l’intera città.  Circa il 77% ritiene che il progetto comporterà un miglioramento della disponibilità dei parcheggi nella zona coinvolta dai lavori e il 69% pensa che una maggiore disponibilità di parcheggi avrà effetti positivi anche per tutta la città. 

La riqualificazione dell’area di Campo di Marte porterà anche alla realizzazione di un museo per spazi espositivi e di un auditorium; per questo il 76% dei residenti è d’accordo questa iniziativa avrà influenza sullo sviluppo culturale dell’area e il 73% dei residenti pensa che gli effetti positivi sullo sviluppo culturale ci saranno su tutta la città.  Un progetto di questa portata non può non avere effetti anche sull’economia di zona e più complessivamente cittadina e infatti l’84% dei rispondenti ritiene che ci saranno positive ricadute sullo sviluppo delle attività economiche dell’area mentre il 78% ritiene che si saranno positive ricadute sullo sviluppo economico di tutta la città.  Sulla tramvia il 76,4% dei rispondenti ha dichiarato di aver utilizzato almeno una volta la tranvia, questa percentuale sale all’83,4% se si considerano i giovani tra i 18 e i 30 anni. Oltre il 43% dei rispondenti usano la tranvia almeno una volta al mese e il 7,9% tutti i giorni. Considerando i giovani queste percentuali salgono a 57% e 16%.

I residenti del quartiere 4 sono quelli che utilizzano più frequentemente la tranvia, il 54% la usa almeno una volta al mese; i residenti del quartiere 3 sono invece quelli che la usano di meno: solo il 18% la usa almeno una volta al mese.  Il 54,6% dei rispondenti si è dichiarato molto soddisfatto del servizio tranvia e comunque i soddisfatti nel complesso sono il 95,5% dei fiorentini. Il voto medio è 4,3/5. Tra gli aspetti migliorabili, il 21,3% dei rispondenti ha dichiarato la sicurezza e il 13,2% la pulizia. Il 54,3% dei rispondenti sostiene che non ci sono aspetti migliorabili.  Tra coloro che non utilizzano la tramvia, per il 46,1% il motivo principale è che non copre il percorso di interesse, il 28,7% perché non hanno avuto bisogno e il 24,8% preferiscono muoversi con altri messi.  L’85,3% dei fiorentini è d’accordo con la realizzazione del sistema tranviario nel suo complesso, tra questi il 60,2% sono quelli che hanno espresso il giudizio più elevato sulla realizzazione del sistema tranviario. I fiorentini contrari sono il 14,7% e tra questi il 7,6% sono completamente in disaccordo con la realizzazione della tranvia nel suo complesso. I motivi principali per i quali si è d’accordo con la realizzazione del sistema tranviario sono “perché migliora la viabilità della città” per il 46,7% dei casi, perché riduce le tempistiche degli spostamenti” e “perché consente di coprire meglio tutte le zone della città” con il 43,4% per entrambe le opzioni (si supera il 100% perché sono possibili più scelte). Tra coloro che sono contrari alla tranvia, il 49,0% lo sono perché ritengono non risolva il problema della viabilità e il 42,1% lo sono per il disagio creato dai lavori. 

“I sondaggi ci danno risposte molto incoraggianti – ha detto il sindaco Dario Nardella -. In sintesi, oltre l’85% dei fiorentini giudica positivamente la tramvia e l’ampliamento delle reti tranviarie. Questo giudizio sale se viene dato dai residenti dei quartieri dove le tramvie ci sono: questo significa che chi ha provato il tram, lo usa abitualmente e lo ha vicino casa dà un giudizio molto positivo. Questi dati ci consentono di procedere con fiducia per la realizzazione delle nuove linee”. “Sullo stadio l’85% dei fiorentini giudica l’opera importante – ha continuato il sindaco -. Lo scetticismo da parte dei residenti 2 c’è, è nell’ordine del 20%, e noi lo leghiamo alla preoccupazione per i cantieri e forse anche al fatto che il nuovo stadio porterà un flusso di persone maggiore. Comunque saranno realizzati più parcheggi e una linea del tram che sarà molto utile per abbattere il traffico”. 

“Vedendo questi dati emerge chiaramente l’importanza di andare avanti nell’ampliamento e completamento del sistema tranviario – ha detto l’assessore alla mobilità Stefano Giorgetti -. Anche le risposte degli intervistati dei quartieri dove ancora la tramvia non è stata realizzata, evidenziano la richiesta della infrastruttura che garantisce un trasporto pubblico efficiente e puntuale. Altro dato di grande rilievo è quello del gradimento molto alto nei quartieri già serviti dalla tramvia. In particolare, nei quartieri 4 e 5 emerge che a un grande utilizzo del tram si accompagna un importante uso della bicicletta, a testimonianza di una diffusione dell’intermodalità”.

 La Nazione

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American:

 

 

 

 

For Tech Companies, Years of Easy Money Yield to Hard Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock-bottom rates were the secret engine fueling $1 billion start-ups and virtual attempts to conquer the physical world. But in 2023, reality bites.

 

 

“Eighteen months ago, the online used car retailer Carvana had such great prospects that it was worth $80 billion. Now it is valued at less than $1.5 billion, a 98 percent plunge, and is struggling to survive.

Many other tech companies are also seeing their fortunes reverse and their dreams dim. They are shedding employees, cutting back, watching their financial valuations shrivel — even as the larger economy chugs along with a low unemployment rate and a 3.2 annualized growth rate in the third quarter.

One largely unacknowledged explanation: An unprecedented era of rock-bottom interest rates has abruptly ended. Money is no longer virtually free.

For over a decade, investors desperate for returns sent their money to Silicon Valley, which pumped it into a wide range of start-ups that might not have received a nod in less heady times. Extreme valuations made it easy to issue stock or take on loans to expand aggressively or to offer sweet deals to potential customers that quickly boosted market share.

It was a boom that seemed as if it would never end. Tech piled up victories, and its competitors wilted. Carvana built dozens of flashy car “vending machines” across the country, marketed itself relentlessly and offered very attractive prices for trade-ins.

“The whole tech industry of the last 15 years was built by cheap money,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “Now they’re getting hit by a new reality, and they will pay the price.”

Cheap money funded many of the acquisitions that substitute for organic growth in tech. Two years ago, as the pandemic raged and many office workers were confined to their homes, Salesforce bought the office communications tool Slack for $28 billion. Salesforce borrowed $10 billion to do the deal. This month, it said it was cutting 8000 people, about 10 percent of its staff, many of them at Slack.

Even the biggest tech companies are affected. Amazon was willing to lose money for years to acquire new customers. It is taking a different approach these days, laying off 18,000 office workers and shuttering operations that are not financially viable.

Carvana, like many start-ups, pulled a page out of Amazon’s old playbook, trying to get big fast. Used cars, it believed, were a highly fragmented market ripe for reinvention, just the way taxis, bookstores and hotels had been. It strove to outdistance any competition.

The company, based in Tempe, Ariz., wanted to replace traditional dealers with, Carvana said grandly, “technology and exceptional customer service.” In what seemed to symbolize the death of the old way of doing things, it paid $22 million for a six-acre site in Mission Valley, Calif., that a Mazda dealer had occupied since 1965.

Where traditional dealerships were literally flat, Carvana built multistory car vending machines that became memorable local landmarks. Customers picked up their cars at these towers, which now total 33. A corporate video of the building of one vending machine has over four million views on YouTube.

In the third quarter of 2021, Carvana delivered 110,000 cars to customers, up 74 percent from 2020. The goal: two million cars a year, which would make it by far the largest used car retailer.

Then, even more quickly than the company grew, it fell apart. When used car sales rose more than 25 percent in the first year of the pandemic, that created a supply problem: Carvana needed many more vehicles. It acquired a car auction company for $2.2 billion and took on even more debt at a premium interest rate. And it paid customers handsomely for cars.

But as the pandemic waned and interest rates began to rise, sales slowed. Carvana, which declined to comment for this article, did a round of layoffs in May and another in November. Its chief executive, Ernie Garcia, blamed the higher cost of financing, saying, “We failed to accurately predict how all this will play out.”

Some competitors are even worse off. Vroom, a Houston company, has seen its stock fall to $1 from $65 in mid-2020. Over the past year, it has dismissed half of its employees.

“High rates are painful for almost everyone, but they are particularly painful for Silicon Valley,” said Kairong Xiao, an associate professor of finance at Columbia Business School. “I expect more layoffs and investment cuts unless the Fed reverses its tightening.”

At the moment, there is little likelihood of that. The market expects two more rate increases by the Federal Reserve this year, to at least 5 percent.

In real estate, that is trouble for anyone expecting a quick recovery. Low rates not only pushed up house prices but also made it irresistible for companies such as Zillow as well as Redfin, Opendoor Technologies and others, to get into a business that used to be considered slightly disreputable: flipping houses.

In 2019, Zillow estimated it would soon have revenue of $20 billion from selling 5,000 houses a month. That thrilled investors, who pushed the publicly traded Seattle company to a $45 billion valuation and created a hiring boom that raised the number of employees to 8,000.

Zillow’s notion was to use artificial intelligence software to make a chaotic real estate market more efficient, predictable and profitable. This was the sort of innovation that the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen talked about in 2011 when he said digital insurgents would take over entire industries. “Software is eating the world,” he wrote.

In June 2021, Zillow owned 50 homes in California’s capital, Sacramento. Five months later, it had 400. One was an unremarkable four-bedroom, three-bath house in the northwest corner of the city. Built in 2001, it is convenient to several parks and the airport. Zillow paid $700,000 for it.

Zillow put the house on the market for months, but no one wanted it, even at $625,000. Last fall, after it had unceremoniously exited the flipping market, Zillow unloaded the house for $355,000. Low rates had made it seem possible that Zillow could shoot for the moon, but even they could not make it a success.

Ryan Lundquist, a Sacramento appraiser who followed the house’s history closely on his blog, said Zillow realized real estate was fragmented but perhaps did not quite appreciate that houses were labor-intensive, deeply personal, one-to-one transactions.

“This idea of being able to come in and change the game completely — that’s really difficult to do, and most of the time you don’t,” he said.

Zillow’s market value has now shrunk to $10 billion, and its employee count to around 5,500 after two rounds of layoffs. It declined to comment.

The dream of market domination through software dies hard, however. Zillow recently made a deal with Opendoor, an online real estate company in San Francisco that buys and sells residential properties and has also been ravaged by the downturn. Under the agreement, sellers on Zillow’s platform can request to have Opendoor make offers on their homes. Zillow said sellers would “save themselves the stress and uncertainty of a traditional sale process.”

That partnership might explain why the buyer of that four-bedroom Sacramento house, one of the last in Zillow’s portfolio, was none other than Opendoor. It made some modest improvements and put the house on the market for $632,000, nearly twice what it had paid. A deal is pending.

“If it were really this easy, everyone would be a flipper,” Mr. Lundquist said.

The easy money era had been well established when Amazon decided it had mastered e-commerce enough to take on the physical world. Its plans to expand into bookstores was a rumor for years and finally happened in 2015. The media went wild. The retailer planned to open as many as 400 bookstores.

The company’s idea was that the stores would function as extensions of its online operation. Reader reviews would guide the potential buyer. Titles were displayed face out, so there were only 6,000 of them. The stores were showrooms for Amazon’s electronics.

Being a showroom for the internet is expensive. Amazon had to hire booksellers and lease storefronts in popular areas. And letting enthusiastic reviews be one of the selection criteria meant stocking self-published titles, some of which were pumped up with reviews by the authors’ friends. These were not books that readers wanted.

Amazon likes to try new things, and that costs money. It took on another $10 billion of long-term debt in the first nine months of the year at a higher rate of interest than it was paying two years ago. This month, it said it was borrowing $8 billion more. Its stock market valuation has shrunk by about a trillion dollars.

The retailer closed 68 stores last March, including not only bookstores but also pop-ups and so-called four-star stores. It continues to operate its Whole Foods grocery subsidiary, which has 500 U.S. locations, and other food stores. Amazon said in a statement that it was “committed to building great, long-term physical retail experiences and technologies.”

Traditional book selling, where expectations are modest, may have an easier path now. Barnes & Noble, the bricks-and-mortar chain recently deemed all but dead, has moved into two former Amazon locations in Massachusetts, putting about 20,000 titles into each. The chain said the stores were doing “very well.” It is scouting other former Amazon locations.

“Amazon did a very different bookstore than we’re doing,” said Janine Flanigan, Barnes & Noble’s director of store planning and design. “Our focus is books.”

NY Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Français :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

École : ChatGPT, la mort annoncée des devoirs ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L’intelligence artificielle, interdite dans les écoles new-yorkaises, laisse perplexes certains professeurs de l’Hexagone, qui craignent des « plagiats ».

« Stendhal, Hugo, La Bruyère… Professeure de français au lycée, Anne a corrigé tant de fiches de lecture de classiques de la littérature plagiées de sites Internet, qu’elle assure aujourd’hui « détecter toutes les impostures ». « J’ai l’œil aiguisé : des formules analogues, un style élaboré, aucune faute d’orthographe… » Mais son assurance chancelle à l’évocation de l’intelligence artificielle ChatGPT: « Je dois bien reconnaître que cela me dépasse… »

Lancé en décembre dernier, cet agent conversationnel capable de résoudre des équations complexes comme de rédiger des dissertations en une fraction de seconde inquiète, au-delà d’Anne, une large part de la communauté éducative.

Déjà, le 5 janvier dernier, les écoles publiques de New York interdisaient, sur leurs réseaux, son usage. « Si ChatGPT peut fournir des réponses rapides et faciles à des questions, il ne permet pas de développer la pensée critique et les compétences en matière de résolution de problèmes, qui sont essentielles à la réussite scolaire et tout au long de la vie », justifiait alors la porte-parole de la ville, Jenna Lyle, à CNN.

« Confier ses devoirs à un robot »

« Que les élèves puissent confier leurs devoirs à un robot et produire un texte sans le moindre effort est très préoccupant », abonde Anne, qui a testé l’AI [intelligence artificielle, NDLR] et demeure « stupéfaite » par ses potentialités (« On peut même lui imposer des contraintes de longueur ! »). Un « plagiat 2.0 » qui préoccupe, aussi, les professeurs du supérieur : « Cet outil est forcément une mauvaise nouvelle, confie ainsi Paul Cassia, professeur de droit à l’université Paris 1. Car c’est le cœur de notre métier que d’apprendre aux étudiants à penser par eux-mêmes… »

Et si l’intelligence artificielle reste à affiner (elle puise encore dans des éléments erronés ou obsolètes), elle déconcerte, aussi, parce qu’elle pourrait redéfinir les méthodes d’évaluation. « Si demain, les copies générées par ChatGPT sont parfaitement indétectables, alors cela pourrait signer la fin des devoirs à la maison », augure le professeur. Une fébrilité qui n’a pas échappé aux ingénieurs d’OpenAI [l’entreprise à l’origine de l’agent conversationnel], qui déjà développent un nouvel outil capable de détecter un texte généré par l’intelligence artificielle. Proposant une voie entre interdiction pure et usage débridé.

« Le plagiat a toujours existé »

« Bannir un outil n’a jamais empêché les élèves – qui savent parfaitement contourner les règles – de l’employer », rappelle à ce titre Marie-Astrid Chauviré, professeure d’histoire-géographie au collège, qui voit dans l’apparition de ChatGPT se rejouer celle de Google, une quinzaine d’années auparavant. « Le plagiat a toujours existé, il prend juste des formes nouvelles. Au fond, utiliser une intelligence artificielle n’est pas moins juste que se faire aider par ses parents… », expose, fataliste, la professeure.

Est-ce à dire que la lutte est perdue d’avance ? Pas si l’on considère « les limites » de l’outil. « Je le mets au défi de savoir sur quels points de mon cours j’ai insisté et attends des copies de mes élèves », sourit Marie-Astrid Chauviré. Sans compter que ces derniers devront encore passer le « crash test » du devoir sur table : « Il y a des constantes. Si les connaissances ne sont pas acquises, les élèves ne réussiront jamais les examens de fin d’année… »

Le Point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  Doctors Who Prescribe HealthyFoods Instead of Medications:
Do they make the pharmaceuticals unhappy and the patients healthy?

 

 

 

 

 

“Research shows food prescriptions by medical professionals can improve well-being. Daphne Miller: “Ever since I was a doctor fresh out of residency, I have prescribed food to my patients to prevent and treat chronic health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. But health insurance had never covered the cost of a healthy meal, which means some patients cannot afford the healthy diet I’ve given them.

That has recently changed in California and a handful of other states, where Medicaid now covers some food targeting patients with diet-related conditions. As a result, I now prescribe “Medically Supportive Food,” or MSF, for some patients — a weekly bag of groceries, or up to three daily meals — paid for by insurance as if it were a medication.

This move to embrace “food as medicine” is bolstered by research showing that food prescriptions by medical professionals can cut health-care costs and improve well-being, especially for those who do not have the resources to access healthy food.

According to the recent study, researchers estimated that offering a nationwide “medically tailored meal” benefit to individuals with such conditions as heart disease, cancer and diabetes could save $185.1 billion in medical costs and avert more than 18 million hospitalizations over a 10-year period. For those who see food as an integral part of healing, this is a monumental step forward. But prescribing food is not as straightforward as it sounds.

Food is more complex than any pill. This makes it difficult for doctors and patients to know which medically tailored foods are the best medicine and which suppliers can best deliver these edible therapies.

Michelle Kuppich, a registered dietitian is concerned about the quality of some of the food entering this growing medical marketplace.

“There are many new companies coming into this space because there is money involved and people want the health-care dollars,” Kuppich said. She said she suspects that some of them “started off selling prepared meals for weight loss and then rebranded.”

Kuppich has found it challenging to get information about the nutritional value of some of the food being sold. “There is a lack of transparency in terms of ingredients,” she said.

Health-care providers also face a challenge of identifying which vendors offer food that appeals to the taste buds — and the soul.

None of these food interventions work if the people don’t want to eat the food,” said Seth Berkowitz, a researcher who led some food is medicine pilot studies and is now an associate professor in general medicine and clinical epidemiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He described food as offering gastronomic pleasure, cultural connection and family memories.

Berkowitz said national vendors offer “an economy of scale” that keeps costs down, but the pilot studies he was involved with in Boston that showed positive results had received their food from a nonprofit group that says it serves “scratch-made” meals and buys from local farmers.

“Mission-driven organizations may offer benefits,” Berkowitz said. “It remains to be seen whether the secret sauce that made those small efforts work can be scaled.”

The lack of standardization made it hard, for instance, for Dennis Hsieh, a physician and chief medical officer of the Contra Costa Health Plan based in California, to choose among the food vendors bidding to fill the food prescriptions for his plan’s enrollees.

Hsieh has extensive experience contracting with medical supply companies for drugs and other health-care products, but this is his first foray into the food sector. He said he received little guidance from California’s Department of Health Care Services about what he should be buying.

Some of the vendors are offering food that is just as ultra processed as fast-food meals that Hsieh hopes to avoid. Ultra-processed foods have been linked with chronic diseases and a higher risk of early death.

Also there’s a real challenge in identifying which suppliers provide the most nutritious food.” NY Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luddite Teens:
promoting a lifestyle of self-liberation from social media and technology,
Don’t Want Your Likes

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a brisk recent Sunday, a band of teenagers met on the steps of Central Library on Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn to start the weekly meeting of the Luddite Club, a high school group that promotes a lifestyle of self-liberation from social media and technology. As the dozen teens headed into Prospect Park, they hid away their iPhones — or, in the case of the most devout members, their flip phones, which some had decorated with stickers and nail polish.

They marched up a hill toward their usual spot, a dirt mound located far from the park’s crowds. Among them was Odille Zexter-Kaiser, a senior at Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood, who trudged through leaves in Doc Martens and mismatched wool socks.

“It’s a little frowned on if someone doesn’t show up,” Odille said. “We’re here every Sunday, rain or shine, even snow. We don’t keep in touch with each other, so you have to show up.”

After the club members gathered logs to form a circle, they sat and withdrew into a bubble of serenity.

Some drew in sketchbooks. Others painted with a watercolor kit. One of them closed their eyes to listen to the wind. Many read intently — the books in their satchels included Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” Art Spiegelman’s “Maus II” and “The Consolation of Philosophy” by Boethius. The club members cite libertine writers like Hunter S, Thompson and Jack Kerouac as heroes, and they have a fondness for works condemning technology, like “Player Piano” by Kurt Vonnegut. Arthur, the bespectacled PBS aardvark, is their mascot.

Lots of us have read this book called ‘Into the Wild,’” said Lola Shub, a senior at Essex Street Academy, referring to Jon Krakauer’s 1996 nonfiction book about the nomad Chris McCandless, who died while trying to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. “We’ve all got this theory that we’re not just meant to be confined to buildings and work. And that guy was experiencing life. Real life. Social media and phones are not real life. When I got my flip phone, things instantly changed,” Lola continued. “I started using my brain. It made me observe myself as a person. I’ve been trying to write a book, too. It’s like 12 pages now.”

Briefly, the club members discussed how the spreading of their Luddite gospel was going. Founded last year by another Murrow High School student, Logan Lane, the club is named after Ned Ludd , the folkloric 18th-century English textile worker who supposedly smashed up a mechanized loom, inspiring others to take up his name and riot against industrialization.

“I just held the first successful Luddite meeting at Beacon,” said Biruk Watling, a senior at Beacon High School in Manhattan, who uses a green-painted flip phone with a picture of a Fugees-era Lauryn Hill pasted to it.

“I hear there’s talk of it spreading at Brooklyn Tech,” someone else said.

A few members took a moment to extol the benefits of going Luddite.

Jameson Butler, a student in a Black Flag T-shirt who was carving a piece of wood with a pocketknife, explained: “I’ve weeded out who I want to be friends with. Now it takes work for me to maintain friendships. Some reached out when I got off the iPhone and said, ‘I don’t like texting with you anymore because your texts are green.’ That told me a lot.”

Vee De La Cruz, who had a copy of “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois, said: “You post something on social media, you don’t get enough likes, then you don’t feel good about yourself. That shouldn’t have to happen to anyone. Being in this club reminds me we’re all living on a floating rock and that it’s all going to be OK.”

A few days before the gathering, after the 3 p.m. dismissal at Murrow High school, a flood of students emerged from the building onto the street. Many of them were staring at their smartphones, but not Logan, the 17-year-old founder of the Luddite Club.

Down the block from the school, she sat for an interview at a coffee shop. She wore a baggy corduroy jacket and quilted jeans that she had stitched herself using a Singer sewing machine.

“We have trouble recruiting members,” she said, “but we don’t really mind it. All of us have bonded over this unique cause. To be in the Luddite Club, there’s a level of being a misfit to it.” She added: “But I wasn’t always a Luddite, of course.”

It all began during lockdown, she said, when her social media use took a troubling turn.

“I became completely consumed,” she said. “I couldn’t not post a good picture if I had one. And I had this online personality of, ‘I don’t care,’ but I actually did. I was definitely still watching everything.”

Eventually, too burned out to scroll past yet one more picture-perfect Instagram selfie, she deleted the app.

“But that wasn’t enough,” she said. “So I put my phone in a box.”

For the first time, she experienced life in the city as a teenager without an iPhone. She borrowed novels from the library and read them alone in the park. She started admiring graffiti when she rode the subway, then fell in with some teens who taught her how to spray-paint in a freight train yard in Queens. And she began waking up without an alarm clock at 7 a.m., no longer falling asleep to the glow of her phone at midnight. Once, as she later wrote in a text titled the “Luddite Manifesto,” she fantasized about tossing her iPhone into the Gowanus Canal.

While Logan’s parents appreciated her metamorphosis, particularly that she was regularly coming home for dinner to recount her wanderings, they grew distressed that they couldn’t check in on their daughter on a Friday night. And after she conveniently lost the smartphone they had asked her to take to Paris for a summer abroad program, they were distraught. Eventually, they insisted that she at least start carrying a flip phone.

“I still long to have no phone at all,” she said. “My parents are so addicted. My mom got on Twitter, and I’ve seen it tear her apart. But I guess I also like it, because I get to feel a little superior to them.”

At an all-ages punk show, she met a teen with a flip phone, and they bonded over their worldview. “She was just a freshman, and I couldn’t believe how well read she was,” Logan said. “We walked in the park with apple cider and doughnuts and shared our Luddite experiences. That was the first meeting of the Luddite Club.” This early compatriot, Jameson Butler, remains a member.

When school was back in session, Logan began preaching her evangel in the fluorescent-lit halls of Murrow. First she convinced Odille to go Luddite. Then Max. Then Clem. She hung homemade posters recounting the tale of Ned Ludd onto corridors and classroom walls.

At a club fair, her enlistment table remained quiet all day, but little by little the group began to grow. Today, the club has about 25 members, and the Murrow branch convenes at the school each Tuesday. It welcomes students who have yet to give up their iPhones, offering them the challenge of ignoring their devices for the hourlong meeting (lest they draw scowls from the die-hards). At the Sunday park gatherings, Luddites often set up hammocks to read in when the weather is nice.

As Logan recounted the club’s origin story over an almond croissant at the coffee shop, a new member, Julian, stopped in. Although he hadn’t yet made the switch to a flip phone, he said he was already benefiting from the group’s message. Then he ribbed Logan regarding a criticism one student had made about the club.

“One kid said it’s classist,” he said. “I think the club’s nice, because I get a break from my phone, but I get their point. Some of us need technology to be included in society. Some of us need a phone.”

“We get backlash,” Logan replied. “The argument I’ve heard is we’re a bunch of rich kids and expecting everyone to drop their phones is privileged.”

After Julian left, Logan admitted that she had wrestled with the matter and that the topic had spurred some heated debate among club members.

“I was really discouraged when I heard the classist thing and almost ready to say goodbye to the club,” she said. “I talked to my adviser, though, and he told me most revolutions actually start with people from industrious backgrounds, like Che Guevara. We’re not expecting everyone to have a flip phone. We just see a problem with mental health and screen use.”

Logan needed to get home to meet with a tutor, so she headed to the subway. With the end of her senior year in sight, and the pressures of adulthood looming, she has also pondered what leaving high school might mean for her Luddite ways.

“If now is the only time I get do this in my life, then I’m going to make it count,” she said. “But I really hope it won’t end.”

On a leafy street in Cobble Hill, she stepped into her family’s townhouse, where she was greeted by a goldendoodle named Phoebe, and she rushed upstairs to her room. The décor reflected her interests: There were stacks of books, graffitied walls and, in addition to the sewing machine, a manual Royal typewriter and a Sony cassette player.

In the living room downstairs, her father, Seth Lane, an executive who works in I.T., sat beside a fireplace and offered thoughts on his daughter’s journey.

“I’m proud of her and what the club represents,” he said. “But there’s also the parent part of it, and we don’t know where our kid is. You follow your kids now. You track them. It’s a little Orwellian, but we’re the helicopter parent generation. So when she got rid of the iPhone, that presented a problem for us, initially.”

He’d heard about the Luddite Club’s hand-wringing over questions of privilege.

“Well, it’s classist to make people need to have smartphones, too, right?” Mr. Lane said. “I think it’s a great conversation they’re having. There’s no right answer.”

A couple days later, as the Sunday meeting of the Luddite Club was coming to an end in Prospect Park, a few of the teens put away their sketchbooks and dog-eared paperbacks while others stomped out a tiny fire they had lit. It was the 17th birthday of Clementine Karlin-Pustilnik and, to celebrate, the club wanted to take her for dinner at a restaurant on Fort Hamilton Parkway.

Night was falling on the park as the teens walked in the cold and traded high school gossip. But a note of tension seemed to form in the air when the topic of college admissions came up. The club members exchanged updates about the schools they had applied to across the country. Odille reported getting into the State University of New York at Purchase.

“You could totally start a Luddite Club there, I bet,” said Elena Scherer, a Murrow senior.

Taking a shortcut, they headed down a lonely path that had no park lamps. Their talk livened when they discussed the poetry of Lewis Carroll, the piano compositions of Ravel and the evils of TikTok. Elena pointed at the night sky.

“Look,” she said. “That’s a waxing gibbous. That means it’s going to get bigger.”

As they marched through the dark, the only light glowing on their faces was that of the moon.”

Alex Vadukul

NYTimes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LibéCare. Pensez la santé demain : enquête
Médecine du futur : avec l’IA, l’algorithme sous la peau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

« Grâce aux avancées scientifiques américaines sur l’intelligence artificielle, notamment dans le domaine de l’imagerie médicale, les médecins pourraient prédire des maladies lointaines à l’aide d’ordinateurs gavés de données.

Un seul cliché du thorax suffit à prédire l’avenir. On le soumet non pas au radiologue, mais à l’ordinateur : le logiciel l’analyse de son œil expert et annonce le risque pour le patient de faire une attaque cardiaque dans les dix ans à venir… Ce genre de scénario ressemblait encore à une pure science-fiction il y a quelques années, mais il devient parfaitement réel, et même banal, grâce à l’intelligence artificielle. Les algorithmes font faire des bonds de géant à la médecine, particulièrement dans le domaine de l’imagerie médicale où ils excellent. Certains logiciels détectent les rétinopathies aussi bien qu’un ophtalmologue, d’autres trouvent les masses suspectes dans les mammographies ou des microfissures dans les radios du poignet…

Mais ce sont donc les attaques cardiaques qui étaient au cœur des discussions au rassemblement annuel de la Société radiologique d’Amérique du Nord. On y a présenté les résultats d’un projet mené au Massachusetts General Hospital, rattaché à la faculté de médecine de Harvard, avec ce nouvel algorithme capable de prédire les risques d’AVC. C’est un exercice pas si évident pour le radiologue car il y a plusieurs organes à examiner et plusieurs facteurs à combiner. On peut remarquer «si le cœur est très gros ou s’il présente une malformation», comme l’explique la cardiologue américaine Nicole Weinberg au média Medical News Today, mais aussi «voir si l’aorte paraît élargie ou s’il y a des dépôts de calcium, qui ressortent à la radio. On peut aussi voir dans le tissu pulmonaire s’il y a une accumulation de fluide […], qui peut traduire une insuffisance cardiaque.»

Volume de données inimaginable»

Pour scruter tous ces endroits à la fois et savoir quoi en conclure, l’algorithme a été entraîné par un processus d’apprentissage automatique. On l’a «nourri» en lui montrant plus de 147 000 radios de thorax provenant de 40 000 patients, en le renseignant pour chaque cliché sur l’existence – ou non – d’une pathologie cardiovasculaire. Après avoir ingurgité cette montagne d’exemples, qui représentent l’équivalent de toute une carrière de radiologue, le logiciel sait se débrouiller seul. Il repère les indices dans les images et établit des prédictions fiables. «La beauté de cette approche est qu’elle nécessite seulement une image aux rayons X, comme on en fait des millions par jour à travers le monde», se réjouit le radiologue Jakob Weiss, auteur principal de l’étude du Massachusetts General Hospital. «Une seule image permet de prédire des épisodes futurs d’événements cardiovasculaires majeurs avec la même efficacité que les évaluations cliniques actuelles», basées sur toute une liste de critères comme l’âge, le sexe, l’hypertension, le diabète, la consommation de tabac, des tests sanguins…

L’intelligence artificielle a un potentiel gigantesque pour ces prédictions médicales lointaines. «Comprendre vraiment les besoins d’un patient à long terme, et pas uniquement ses problèmes transitoires, demande d’avoir un volume de données inimaginable : le génome, des données démographiques, l’historique médical, les facteurs environnementaux… détaille au magazine Forbes Tony Ambrozie, responsable de l’information pour le réseau d’hôpitaux Baptist Health en Floride. De manière réaliste, il est impossible pour les professionnels de santé de faire ces analyses manuellement. L’apprentissage automatique évolue vers des solutions qui effectuent automatiquement ce vaste traitement de données, pour aider les praticiens à mettre au point des parcours de soins sûrs et personnalisés pour leurs patients.»

Copie numérique du cerveau

En France, le projet Aramis est développé à l’Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique pour tester un modèle informatique de cerveau humain qui combine plusieurs sources de données acquises sur des patients suivis dans la durée : la génétique, l’imagerie médicale et les données cliniques (des tests neurologiques par exemple). On recrée ainsi une sorte de copie numérique de leur cerveau, un cerveau de «patient virtuel» que l’on peut faire vieillir informatiquement pour voir quelles maladies il est susceptible de développer. L’espoir est que dans quelques années, l’algorithme sera suffisamment entraîné pour prédire un scénario de vieillissement du cerveau à partir de quelques données sur un patient, et estimer par exemple quelles sont ses chances de développer la maladie d’Alzheimer à un horizon de deux, trois ou cinq ans. Loin de déshumaniser la médecine, l’intelligence artificielle utilisée comme aide au pronostic devrait au contraire permettre une prise en charge plus précoce et plus juste des patients. » Libération

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“lo smartphone, ormai, non è più uno strumento, ma è diventato un’appendice del corpo.”
“Un sistema di schiavitù nel quale, grazie al consumismo e al divertimento, gli schiavi amano la loro schiavitù.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Sono gli effetti che l’uso, che nella maggior parte dei casi non può che degenerare in abuso, di smartphone e videogiochi produce sui più giovani. Niente di diverso dalla cocaina. Stesse, identiche, implicazioni chimiche, neurologiche, biologiche e psicologiche.

È quanto sostengono, ciascuno dal proprio punto di vista « scienti- fico », la maggior parte dei neurologi, degli psichiatri, degli psicologi, dei pedagogisti, dei grafologi, degli esponenti delle Forze dell’ordine auditi. Un quadro oggettivamente allarmante, anche perché evidentemente destinato a peggiorare.

Sono questi, oggi, i nostri modelli. Modelli avanzatissimi già da anni quanto a diffusione della tecnologia digitale, perciò anticipatori degli effetti che il crescente uso di smartphone e videogiochi produrrà fatalmente sui nostri figli, sui nostri nipoti, sui nostri amici, su di noi e di conseguenza sulla società in cui viviamo.

Sono giovani tra i dodici e i venticinque anni che si sono completamente isolati dalla società. Non studiano, non lavorano, non socializzano. Vegetano chiusi nelle loro camerette perennemente connessi con qualcosa che non esiste nella realtà. Gli hikikomori in Giappone sono circa un milione. Un milione di zombi.

Tutte le ricerche internazionali citate nel corso del ciclo di audizioni giungono alla medesima conclusione: il cervello agisce come un muscolo, si sviluppa in base all’uso che se ne fa e l’uso di dispositivi digitali (social e videogiochi), così come la scrittura su tastiera elettronica invece della scrittura a mano, non sollecita il cervello. Il muscolo, dunque, si atrofizza. Detto in termini tecnici, si riduce la neuroplasticità, ovvero lo sviluppo di aree cerebrali responsabili di singole funzioni.

Mai prima d’ora una rivoluzione tecnologica, quella digitale, aveva scatenato cambiamenti così profondi, su una scala così ampia e in così poco tempo. Il motivo è evidente, lo smartphone, ormai, non è più uno strumento, ma è diventato un’appendice del corpo. Soprattutto nei più giovani. Un’appendice da cui, oltre ad un’infinita gamma di funzioni, in larga parte dipendono la loro autostima e la loro identità. È per questo che risulta così difficile convincerli a farne a meno, a mettere da parte il telefonino almeno per un po’: per loro, privarsene è doloroso e assurdo quanto subire l’amputazione di un arto.

Usarlo incessantemente è dunque naturale. È naturale perché questo li inducono a fare le continue sollecitazioni di algoritmi programmati apposta per adescarli e tenerli connessi il più a lungo possibile. È naturale perché a disconnettersi percepiscono la sgradevole sensazione di essere « tagliati fuori », esclusi, emarginati. È naturale anche e soprattutto perché essere connessi è irresistibilmente piacevole, dal momento che l’uso del digitale che ne fanno i più giovani, prevalentemente social e videogiochi, favorisce il rilascio di dopamina, il neurotrasmettitore della sensazione di piacere.

A tutto ciò vanno sommate le conseguenze sui più giovani dell’essere costantemente a contatto con chiunque e con qualsiasi cosa. Istigazione al suicidio, adescamento, sexting, bullismo, revenge porn: tutti reati in co- stante crescita. Reati facilitati dal fatto che nelle nuove piazze virtuali non trovano spazio le regole in vigore nelle vecchie piazze reali: vige l’ano- nimato, i controlli sono scarsi, i minori vi si avventurano senza alcuna sorveglianza da parte dei genitori.

Non si tratta di dichiarare guerra alla modernità, ma semplicemente di governare e regolamentare quel mondo virtuale nel quale, secondo le ultime stime, i più giovani trascorrono dalle quattro alle sei ore al giorno. Si tratta di evitare che si realizzi fino in fondo quella « dittatura perfetta » vaticinata da Aldous Huxley quando la televisione doveva ancora entrare in tutte le case e lo smartphone aveva la concretezza di un’astrazione fantascientifica: « Una prigione senza muri in cui i prigionieri non sognano di evadere. Un sistema di schiavitù nel quale, grazie al consumismo e al divertimento, gli schiavi amano la loro schiavitù ».

Giovani schiavi resi drogati e decerebrati: gli studenti italiani. I nostri figli, i nostri nipoti. In una parola, il nostro futuro.”

Corriere della Sera

 

 

 

 


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Largest exhibition of Guido Reni—

Frankfurt’s Städel Museum will present around 130 of his paintings, drawings and etchings

“ Bologna’s supreme Baroque artist, Guido Reni (1575-1642), was known in his lifetime as “the divine”, referring to his celestial talents and subject matter.

Frankfurt’s Städel Museum hopes to bring the lustre back to Reni’s star this month by presenting around 130 of his paintings, drawings and etchings in Guido Reni: The Divine. The exhibition, which also includes some 35 comparative works of art and other objects, comprises the largest number of autograph works by the artist brought together in one place, says the exhibition curator Bastian Eclercy, who is the Städel’s expert in Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting.

Divine”—an epithet that Reni’s contemporaries also used to remark on his diva-like manner—is a concise word for summing up the artist’s oeuvre, which was concerned almost exclusively with Christian and mythological imagery. Basking in the patronage of Rome’s Borghese family, he was able to break away from early influences, such as the Carracci clan of his native Bologna and Caravaggio himself, and arrive at an elegant, harmonious synthesis of earlier styles.

The show, which begins with a biographical overview, establishes Reni as a contradictory character who was deeply religious Eclercy says, as well as a high-earning compulsive gambler who “lost in the evening what he earned in the morning”. Reni’s Madonnas—which launched centuries of imitations and, his harshest critics might suggest, paved the way for religious kitsch—are represented here with pathos-filled iterations, including Immaculate Conception (1627) on loan from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Eclercy says Reni showed no outward signs of a romantic life. In his dynamic retelling of the myth of Hippomenes and Atalanta (around 1615-18), Reni has the apple-seeking huntress bending away from her gorgeous would-be suitor, as he makes his own star turn. The life-size work, which has recently undergone conservation treatment, is on loan from Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado, whose own Reni show next spring will share around 30 core works with the Städel’s (28 March-9 July 2023).

Eclercy has incorporated new findings and theories in the show, including the argument that David with the Head of Goliath, a recently cleaned painting on loan from France’s Musée des Beaux-Arts in Orléans, should be regarded as another autograph version, and possibly earlier than the version at the Musée du Louvre, long thought to have come first. Meanwhile, a remarkable loan from the Louvre serves as the show’s centerpiece: in the Allegory of the Union of Drawing and Painting (around 1625), the handsome youth representing drawing is gazing into the eyes of the beautifully adorned maiden who stands for painting. Reni’s depiction of heterosexual love is a match made in heaven.”

The Art Journal

 

 

 

 

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Pour s’offrir une maison de 100 m² en Île-de-France, le coût du crédit flambe

 

 

 

 

 

À cause de l’envolée des taux et des prix immobiliers en région parisienne, les mensualités des emprunteurs ne cessent de grimper.

« Sauf si vous achetez sans emprunt, rares sont les ménages qui sont sûrs d’avoir un crédit immobilier», affirme Maël Bernier, de Meilleurtaux. Même des quadras aisés, qui achètent un nouveau logement, peuvent être refoulés. «Il y a un peu moins de jeunes acheteurs à Paris, en sachant que la majorité des acquisitions immobilières, dans la capitale, sont des secundo accédants», analyse Me Thierry Delesalle, notaire à Paris. Ces 4 dernières années, l’accès au crédit était facilité par les taux de crédit historiquement bas. En moins d’un an, ils ont remonté en flèche même s’ils restent parmi les plus bas d’Europe. «Ils peuvent soit bloquer les acheteurs soit les inciter à acheter vite avant que les taux grimpent plus haut», décrypte Me Delesalle.

Mais les conditions d’octroi sont de plus en plus strictes et le coût du crédit de plus en plus cher. Les notaires du Grand Paris ont calculé les sommes qu’un emprunteur doit rembourser à sa banque chaque mois pour acquérir une maison de 100 m² en Île-de-France ou un appartement de 65 m². Le constat est sans appel: dans le premier cas, la mensualité va flamber de 14% entre janvier 2022 et janvier 2023, passant de 1651 euros à 1876 euros, dans le cadre d’un emprunt de 100% du prix d’achat remboursé en 20 ans. C’est en Grande Couronne que l’envolée est la plus spectaculaire: +12% (entre décembre 2021 et octobre 2022) contre 10% en Petite Couronne.

3427 euros à rembourser par mois à Paris

Dans le cas d’un appartement de 65 m², la hausse est de 11% (2030 à 2250 euros par mois) en Île-de-France. À l’instar des maisons, c’est aussi en Grande Couronne que l’envolée de la mensualité est la plus forte: +13% contre 9% en Petite Couronne. Une fois n’est pas coutume, Paris est un peu plus épargnée avec une hausse deux fois moins élevée, + 7%, du fait de la légère érosion des prix de l’immobilier. Vous devrez tout de même rembourser pas moins de 3427 euros par mois pour vous offrir un 65 m². Soit trois fois plus qu’en Grande Couronne et deux fois plus qu’en Petite Couronne. «Même si d’autres paramètres sont susceptibles d’amortir ces évolutions (achat d’un logement plus petit, allongement de la durée d’emprunt, apport personnel plus important…), accéder à la propriété devient de plus en plus compliqué, dans un contexte où les perspectives sur les revenus ne sont pas favorables», soulignent les notaires du Grand Paris, dans leur dernière étude. »

Le Figaro

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Il 3 dicembre San Giovanni ricorda Don Lorenzo Milani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarà presentato il libro di Sandra Passerotti “Le ragazze di Barbiana” in occasione delle celebrazioni per iu 100 anni dalla nascita.

“Arezzo, 24 novembre 2022 – Don Lorenzo Milani, nato a Firenze il 27 maggio 1923, è stato un presbitero, scrittore, docente ed educatore cattolico italiano. La sua figura è legata in maniera indissolubile all’esperienza didattica rivolta ai bambini poveri nella disagiata e isolata scuola di Barbiana, nella canonica della chiesa di Sant’Andrea, in Mugello. Qui, in questa minuscola e sperduta frazione di montagna nel comune di Vicchio, entrò in contatto con una realtà di povertà ed emarginazione molto lontana rispetto a quella in cui aveva vissuto gli anni della sua giovinezza. Iniziò qui, in alta Toscana, il primo tentativo di scuola a tempo pieno, espressamente rivolto a coloro che, per mancanza di mezzi, sarebbero stati quasi inevitabilmente destinati a rimanere vittime di una situazione di subordinazione sociale e culturale. Nel 2023 si celebreranno i 100 anni dalla nascita di questo straordinario sacerdote e il circolo Acli di San Giovanni ha organizzato un evento il prossimo 3 dicembre, alle 10,30, presso la sala conferenze di via Roma. Sarà presentato il libro di Sandra Passerotti “Le ragazze di Barbiana”. L’iniziativa è organizzata con l’intento di dare un contributo all’approfondimento culturale sulla scuola in corso nel Paese, sul suo ruolo e sulla funzione pedagogica, avvicinandosi la ricorrenza del centenario della nascita di Don Lorenzo Milani. L’evento vede il patrocinio del Comune di San Giovanni.”

La Nazione

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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René Descartes, la tentación geométrica

 

 

 

 

 

 

La matematización de la realidad arrancó con el francés y, bajo el empuje de la física newtoniana, ha gobernado el destino filosófico de Europa y podríamos decir que del mundo

“Las matemáticas son falsas. ¿Qué se quiere decir? Que falsean la vida, que la tasación numérica y cuantitativa del universo supone un reduccionismo intolerable. Ofrecen un sucedáneo de realidad, siniestro, donde no hay deseo ni voluntad, donde todo sucede impersonalmente. Al mismo tiempo, las matemáticas son la invención más prodigiosa de la imaginación humana. Hacen creer que el fondo de lo real es racional. Y esa fue la fe de Descartes, una convicción que, generalmente, aparece en la juventud. Lo real es racional. Lo real puede someterse al escrutinio matemático y éste lo reflejará fielmente. Esa fue la apuesta de un joven metido a militar, seguro de sí mismo, que advirtió en sueños los signos de su vocación filosófica. Un sueño de juventud que plasmó en el Discurso del método y que ha marcado la Edad Moderna. Hasta el punto de que la fe en la racionalidad del mundo (de origen onírico) todavía se enseña en las escuelas. La matematización de la realidad arrancó con el francés y, bajo el empuje de la física newtoniana, ha gobernado el destino filosófico de Europa y podríamos decir que del mundo.

Creo que fue Bertrand Russell quien dijo que a ningún viejo le interesan las matemáticas. Pues el matemático, como advirtió Demócrito, se arranca los ojos para pensar. Y la vida, cuando es veterana, lo que quiere es seguir viendo, seguir sintiendo. Se interesa, fundamentalmente, por el deseo y la percepción. Por indagar cómo la percepción va suscitado el deseo de nuevas percepciones. En ningún caso renunciará al color, como hace el matemático, pues el color es irracional. A la inteligencia madura los modelos matemáticos del universo le hacen sonreír, le parecen el juego inocente (y brillante) de una inteligencia que todavía no ha vivido lo suficiente. Pero ocurre que el sueño matemático, la tentación geométrica, como me gusta llamarla, ha dado unos réditos magníficos a nuestra civilización. Ha hecho posible la expansión colonial y dominar el mundo mediante el poder tecnológico. Nos ha llevado a la Luna, al bosón de Higgs, a la bomba de nuclear y al laboratorio global (a un experimento planetario propiciado por un engendro biotecnológico). Las matemáticas son muy útiles para la guerra, también para controlar el flujo de la información. Las matemáticas no sólo crean teoremas, crean opinión. La consecuencia final de todo ello es moral. Modelos matemáticos (algoritmos) nos dirán qué es bueno y qué es malo, quién es el tirano, cual es el tratamiento adecuado para enfermedades globales, cómo concebir, en definitiva, la realidad.

La noche del 10 de noviembre de 1619 es un momento tan decisivo para la historia de Europa como la batalla contra los turcos de Solimán el Magnífico a las puertas de Viena (1519) o el desembarco de Normandía (1945). Pero lo que ocurre aquella noche no es un episodio bélico sino imaginal. Un joven soldado, educado por los jesuitas, brillante y decidido, tiene una serie de sueños en un campamento militar. De esa experiencia sale un librito, más biográfico que científico, que servirá de fundamento a una ciencia que todavía no existe, la física moderna (creada por Newton medio siglo después), y a otra que, aunque antigua, se verá profundamente renovada: la matemática moderna.

En ese preciso instante nace, de la imaginación, la fe racionalista. Esa fe sustituye a otra fe, anquilosada, que ha dejado de inspirar, que se ha enredado en monsergas escolásticas y academicistas. Las mentes más brillantes de Europa se volcarán en ella. Spinoza, Leibniz (sólo parcialmente), Voltaire, Newton, Laplace, los philosophes, y ese impulso llegará hasta el positivismo del XIX, que dominará por completo la ciencia. Las matemáticas, siendo una fantasía, son una vía posible en nuestras relaciones con el universo. Un universo que en el mundo antiguo concebía mediante cualidades y que pasa a ser de cantidades. Esa es la vía que elige Europa, cansada del puritanismo, las bulas papales y el control jesuítico. Europa se adhiere con entusiasmo a la premisa de Galileo: la naturaleza habla el lenguaje de las matemáticas. Aprendiendo esa lengua, podremos dialogar con ella, o mejor, persuadirla, de que se avenga a nuestros deseos (todo empieza y termina en el deseo). El siguiente paso, claro está, es que, nosotros, al reflejarnos en la naturaleza, quedamos matematizados, es decir, pasamos a ser seres regidos por leyes numéricas y equivalencias cuantitativas. Siendo matemáticos, podemos dar el siguiente paso, considerarnos mecánicos. El ser humano como mecanismo, pariente cercano del androide. Esta es, de manera simplificada, la visión moderna de lo humano. Si no fuera por el temporal que se avecina, resultaría cómica.

¿Dónde han quedado la percepción y el deseo que, según Leibniz y ciertas filosofías de origen indio, son los constituyentes esenciales de lo real? La respuesta es sencilla. Se han mecanizado. La percepción y el deseo son también mecanismos. El mundo al revés. La causa es ahora el efecto. Mecanismos reparables, modificables, perfeccionables. De toda esa deriva; que es la nuestra y con la que habremos de negociar (no valen escapismos, no hay vuelta posible a la selva, ni regreso a Oriente); el primer representante es Descartes.”

El País