Blogs

With more than 300 papers and 12 books in his portfolio, Michael Luck, the executive dean of the faculty of natural and mathematical sciences at King’s College London, is pioneering research into how multi-agent systems can be used to solve a huge array of challenges....

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...

The funny thing about being a ContactEngine employee is that we all spend a lot of time thinking about how we can provide a good, efficient, non-annoying service with our customer communications. At the same time, we are all consumers ourselves – who among us...

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...

In my previous post on linguistic interactions between computer-managed communications and people, I discussed the interesting phenomenon in human-computer interaction (HCI) whereby humans can sometimes be unaware that they are communicating with a computer – an automated system – rather than a person. As I explained,...

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,...

Do you want to pick fruit and vegetables for a living? No? Nor do most Britons, it seems. One of the unforeseen-but-obvious-in-hindsight Brexit consequences is that it turns out to be mostly foreigners who show up here at certain times of year and pick our...

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...

We’ve recently been considering the field of linguistics more at ContactEngine: what it is, why we should care, and how we can use it to our advantage. I talked briefly in my previous post about the way language is medium-dependent and context-dependent – it varies...

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...

Every year, just before my mind wanders to which taverna I’ll frequent, or I admonish myself for the bottle of raki I’ve yet to consume, I eagerly await the publication of OFCOM’s latest league table. Now, you might find this a strange preoccupation for someone who...

Linguistics is, in my moderate experience, a widely and grievously misunderstood subject. People know it has something to do with language; from there, assumptions tend to branch off into two disparate but equally misinformed areas. First, that linguistics is learning how to speak other languages...

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...