Author: Dr Mark K. Smith

When you are small it’s sometimes useful to make friends with the bigger boys. I had some luck in the genetic lottery and turned out quite large – so this rule only started to have meaning for me as I grew a software company that...

So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just (about to) beg(i)un. Oh I do like a famous quote. So here’s one from someone who isn’t a Beatle – the Nobel Laureate Nils Bohr once said "Prediction is...

I’m not very good at parties. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s the random nature of conversation. If it’s a work thing then the conversation is likely to be constrained by the context. So, if I’m speaking at an AI event, about say...

In mid-October, MIT announced a $1bn investment in a computing college devoted to AI[1]. It's the latest in a series of headlines that will have many chief executives wondering if they should be investing in AI and where it might make a difference for them....

Life is full of decisions. To shave or not to shave; to shower or to bathe; to tea or to coffee; yogurt or croissant? And that's just within the first 15 minutes of the day. There are even irritating micro-decisions like milk no milk, or...

I’ve got a theory. It’s based on very little evidence. More rumour and more hearsay. Large teams can’t innovate. There, I said it. Stick a load of people together and human nature tends toward the mean, the average. It’s like the wisdom of the crowds,...

Nearly every new tech startup launched this year will fail within 12 months. So said Mat Shore, founder of global training and innovation firm, Outside In[1]. Just one in 100 new tech businesses will survive more than 12 months trading; the rest will fail because,...

In the early days of ContactEngine I liked to show off. In many ways showing off is a professional requirement for a CEO in an early stage tech firm. Looking back, many of the things I said were utter nonsense – however, one line that has...

A little over a year ago, the UN published its annual World Population Prospects report (1). It makes for interesting reading. Turns out we’re a fertile bunch: population today stands at a little over 7.6 billion souls and the report projects that this will increase...

Recently I wrote about Google's impressive-seeming Duplex AI voice assistant demonstration[1]. I said that although it seems magical, the trick depends on constraining the robot within very narrow parameters. Duplex is designed for "scheduling certain types of appointments" and that's it. By closing down the...

First published on FirstCapital.co.uk The machines will not take over the world. There, I’ve said it. I do not believe computers will ever become sentient. They won’t dream, fall in love or express the emotions of a new parent holding their child for the first time. They...

The trouble with being curious and working in technology is that the whole work-life balance evaporates. So ContactEngine's journey through AI inevitably became my personal journey too. I don't mean to boast, but in my spare time I'm building a house. It's not often you do...

Earlier on this year we had the privilege of becoming one of the chosen few to join the Microsoft ScaleUp Programme, based in London. I’ve always been an admirer of Microsoft – it’s my most trusted IT brand in fact – so I was very...

My recent posts have focused a lot on what AI can’t do. It isn’t magic, it won’t take over the world, it won’t write a great novel. It would struggle to write a bad novel, come to think of it. Jeffrey Archer’s career is safe,...

"At least when there's an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there would be no death," says Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla cars and rocket-maker SpaceX, in a new documentary[1]. "It would live forever. And then you'd have...

Recently, Laura van Beers interviewed Professor Francesca Toni of Imperial College London (here) about how AI could be used to understand human arguments. Towards the end of the interview, Professor Toni mentioned that her work might one day lead to a way to tackle a...

Around 100 years before the birth of Christ, somewhere in the Mediterranean – let’s call it Rhodes – lived a man called Hipparchus. He was a mathematician and astronomer who liked a challenge, and one particular challenge was this: if you are going to train...

I hate my washing machine. I like my drinks fridge. The dishwasher irritates me. I love the microwave but I think the other fridge hides food from me until the sell by date is passed and then pushes festering cheese into my face when I...

At ContactEngine we are all about making the efficient-and-effective everyday ever better. When the efficient-and-effective everyday goes well, or to plan, just right, just on time, super-smoothly, as one had hoped simply seamlessly, or, dare we say it - perfectly! We are tempted to smile ...