Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Archive for the ‘Think different’ tag

“How to be a technology innovator – without an engineering degree or Asperger’s”

leave a comment

Another incredible TED talk about the power of believing in ourselves and understanding that every single individual possesses a Genius Mind that can be unlocked. I truly believe so. And I very strongly support any example where we can demonstrate it to ourselves and eliminate doubt.

Published on: April 30, 2012 By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

Meredith Perry is the founder and CEO of Wireless recharging startup uBeam. She is not an engineer by training or a expert. She knows how to use Google, and she knows how to think differently.

In her TEDxNashville talk “How to be a technology innovator – without an engineering degree or Asperger’s”, Meredith argues for non-experts to broach innovative solutions and learn new technology with the help of Google, Wikipedia and by consulting with college professors and such “experts”. She found that said “experts” often have contradictory and different opinions.

In her talk she says,

“But because I already learned not to trust one person’s opinion, I become immune to the naysayers.

For each technological hurdle deemed insurmountable by the experts, I would spend just a few hours thinking about the problem from a variety of sources. As Steve Jobs said, I had to think differently – so I found solutions based on the acoustics of musical instruments, based on other technologies, from authoritative sources such as Wikipedia and when I would present my progressto engineers, they say, yeah that could work. So I was able to solve problems when the Ph.D experts couldn’t with just a few hours of really simple research.

Every single argument why the technology couldn’t’t work has been indisputably wrong and for every objection that has been raised I have found a solution. This was another very important lesson for me to learn. Engineers are inherently linear thinkers and tend to take a very binary approach to solving problems.

When faced with a problem, they think can this work, can this not work. I think – how can I make this work? As a non expert I had an advantage because I could look at the problem from different angles because I just didn’t know what was possible. Being naive is sometimes a good thing. Because without constraints the world is literally your oyster…

My experience also made me wonder, how many game-changing brilliant ideas out there thought of by laypeople, teenagers, store clerks, paleobiologists have been squashed by experts that said it wouldn’t work? I know that if I weren’t as stubborn as I am I would have chucked this entire idea 8 months ago because I was told my idea wasn’t possible.

But by thinking differently, by thinking outside the box, by thinking around corners you can outthink the top thinkers. They say that the most revolutionary ideas in the world were considered crazy until the point where they became revolutionary.

Dream out loud, ask questions, take risks, never give up, keep pushing and believe in yourself even when no one else is.”

22 year old Meredith Perry was recently featured in Forbes “30 Under 30? for her energy startup uBeam.

It is nice to receive awards for scientific excellence

leave a comment

This is an article written in collaboration with one of my postdoctoral students at the U. Jaume I.

One of my research lines a few years ago, was to create a ‘General Model’ to describe the behavior of all qualitative models based on intervals, also named – “naming” qualitative models. “Naming” qualitative models are the ones that help us to express spatial-temporal concepts such as “That horse is really fast” (velocity); “That boy is really tall” (size); “My favorite restaurant is close” (distance).  The other way we reason with qualities is by comparing:  “The black horse is faster than the brown one”; “My son is taller than yours”; “The pizzeria is closer to the Thai restaurant”.

The basis of the qualitative reasoning process is defined very easily (in fact, it’s easier than it seems when you try to explain it with words, as I am doing).  If you have the relationship (any of the spatial-temporal concepts that you are interested in applying) between the object b and the reference system RS1, and we have the relationship between the object c and another reference system RS2, and object b is included into the RS2, the basic reasoning model will obtain the relationship between object c and RS1.  As an example: given two distances between three spatial objects, a , b and c, that is Dab and Dbc, we want to find the distance which is not initially given, i.e. Dac.

I can hear the voices of those asking… “and why is this important”?  “What is this useful for”?  The general model will allow us to create a unique algorithm to be able to represent and reason with all different spatial-temporal qualitative naming concepts.

We corrected this article so many times, that we finally obtained the Practical Applications of Agent and Multi-Agent Systems’ 2012 AWARD OF SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE.  Congratulations Esther!

If you want to read the whole article, paperDCAI-2012_red