Welcome!

I'm Stéphane Caron, a post-doc researcher at LIRMM IDH, CNRS, France, interested in multi-contact motion planning and control for humanoid robots. Before working here, I completed my PhD at the University of Tokyo (東京大学), Japan, where I was a student of the Nakamura Lab. You can reach me at stephane.caron@normalesup.org. I answer all messages encrypted with my GPG key (0x330CB35B).

Wikimedia Foundation

I publicly, financially and unconditionally support the Wikimedia Foundation. Anytime I want to learn something new, the first place I go to is Wikipedia. I'm learning a lot of robotics from there too!

Open Access

I'm a strong supporter of Open access and believe in the model of Epijournals. Epijournals overlay the current peer-reviewing process onto pre-print repositories (like arXiv or Zenodo), that is to say, researchers continue to do what they are already doing, but the output is public. Furthermore, the review process would not stop after a paper is accepted to an epijournal: new readers could write post-publication reviews on the epi-journal's web platform, and also upvote or downvote other reviews, as is currently done on Q&A platforms such as Stack overflow.

Transparency

Here is one of the main deals of a democracy: you delegate your power (over your street, your city, your state, etc.) to selected people, who in turn get powerful but need to report back on what they do, that is, to be accountable. To make sure of this, other people called journalists should follow their deeds and propagate the info back into society.

Now, there are two major issues with this structure. Accountability being a weight to bear, some powerful people argue that they need secrecy, that is, the right to do whatever they want without being held accountable for it. This is a dangerous slope, as it brings us back to the non-democratic system (think of the NSA in the USA). To prevent this, Wikileaks draws a clear line: transparency, which means whatever government people do is public. Given the maturity that the Internet has reached, I believe that this system is now doable, therefore I publicly and financially support Wikileaks in their action to make it a reality.

The second major issue we have with the basic deal of democracy lies with journalists. Even assuming that the info was fully transparent, we would still need people to work it out and analyze what powerful people (government officials, company directors, etc.). Now, the problem we have is that journalists live in the same social group as powerful people, while mainstream media are owned by moguls. To help counter this phenomenon, I publicly and financially support Acrimed, a journalist association dedicated to fact checking and analysis of mainstream media.

Internet Politics

What is your stance on “intellectual property”? Should we create an artificial “market” for ideas? What does a society gain or lose by making such a decision? On this topic, Lawrence Lessig gave a brilliant talk at OSCON 2002 on free culture (31'40). I support the Electronic Frontier Foundation to push for this line of thinking.

A second trending topic is network neutrality. Governments have already started to regulate and monitor our computer networks, and they do so out of public reach (secretly, as the NSA in the USA, or behind closed-doors, like the EU government does). I give money to La Quadrature du net to defend our citizen rights in ongoing EU policymaking, as a counter-power to balance private and government interests.