Author: Dr Mark K. Smith

We opened an office in Bletchley Park recently. It’s quite a special place which helped to shorten the Second World War and saved countless lives as a consequence of its top-secret work. Famous alumni included Tommy Flowers and Alan Turing, the latter more famous than...

I’ve been involved with investors most of my career, I’ve raised money from friends and family, angels, VCs, PE firms, done a bit of venture debt and had pension funds pile in. I’ve started three companies, floated one on the London Stock Exchange, and built...

I used to have a problem with ethics. Thing is, I was trained as a biologist and our glorious leader was one beardy Victorian geezer called Charles. He had this idea. It was a really good idea. It was called the Origin of Species. Now...

When I was a school boy an old English teacher - Mr Burrows - always insisted that the first sentence you write is the most important one of all; it sets the scene for the essay and must therefore entice the reader to persevere. If...

I went to see an insurance company recently and their building was full of people making and taking calls. No surprise there. ContactBabel – a research company that I really like - estimate that there are 772,500 people employed in call centres in the UK...

Not a lot of people know this…… MTV’s very first video was the irritating earworm by the rarely remembered, and winner of crappiest name for a band ever, ‘The Buggles’ with their only hit ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. Yeah right, that prediction was rubbish. So...

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...