Social robots are gaining in performance. However, they are still a long way from mastering all aspects of human interaction. At the Gipsa-lab in Grenoble, researchers teach them how to show their intentions by demonstrating them how to adjust their behaviour (gestures, speech, gaze) to the context and the person they are interacting with.

Research in cognitive sciences is providing insights into the best ways of learning to read, write and count. The huge challenge however for the educational sciences remains bringing the results obtained in the laboratory into the classroom. This requires better coordination with teachers.

On the climate issue, we must act very quickly by taking a step back on energy debates because the challenge covers all of our social organizations.

If design thinking takes out heavy artillery to understand people, it leaves behind the question of the meaning of the society it helps to create and seems unlikely to provide answers to major contemporary challenges, which are first, political questions.

The culture of innovation is driven by two key factors: creative rationality and technical culture. The first moves away from established paradigms, the second restores the political dimension of innovation.

The very idea of full anticipation removes any meaning from the term innovation; if everything can be known in advance, where is the innovation? Eco-design leaves out the question of the meaning of innovation.

French scientist Stéphane Mallat is a specialist in deep learning algorithms, and is behind the new data sciences chair at the Collège de France. This has also been the topic of his lectures since January, with the aim of deepening the links between mathematics and applications.

Contrary to what we may believe, innovation has not always been seen in a positive light. Plato, the eminent Ancient Greek philosopher of Western thought, argued for tradition in Book VII of his Laws. Change, in his opinion, was the worst possible thing, leading to instability. The challenges we face today require a rethinking of the meaning of innovation.

The authors claim that the program is able to automatically recognise a homosexual from facial features with more than 91% accuracy. This idea originating in physiognomy, pushed to its limit, is the same as saying that the outside takes precedence over the inside, and thus the emptiness of any moral conscience or individual will.

We all believe readily in the idea of the lone inventor, who is since the Renaissance a sort of hero. But renowned innovators have always been immersed in networks of knowledge and a variety of actors that act as a favourable underlying environment for the genesis of innovation.

Please reload

Photo Bernard Martinez


Managing Editor


La Recherche, founded in 1970, is a major source of science information in France for science-interested citizens, leading universities and research institutions. The site publishes the English version of a series of articles about the most advanced achievements appearing in our printed French version.


November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018

Please reload


    © 2017 by