Last Thursday, we kicked off a series of evenings at the offices of Truphone with James Tagg leading a romp through the current thinking about the future of artificial intelligence in the context of mobile, ie “When will your smartphone be smarter than you?”
We then went into a short open space session with people suggesting conversations about “How & when the laws of robotics will apply to smartphone AIs”, “How can AI be used for creating world peace?” and “What does the AI world really look like in 2025?”
I managed to catch a few snippets of the conversations:
The format worked well, here’s audio of the final circle (a sentence or two from everyone who wants to) many people said it was very refreshing and stimulating to have a chance to talk about what they wanted to talk about while also having plenty of time to quiz James. Last night we returned to Artificial Intelligence again, but this time, helped by Benjamin Ellis, looking through the lens of the Future of Work (which is the overall theme for the four remaining sessions) and after that come Blockchain, Drones Robots & IoT and Virtual/Augmented Realities. Do join us!
I’ve dropped in to the Ethereum Devcon1 at the Gibson Hall, slap bang in the middle of the City – at the junction of Threadneedle Street and Bishopsgate. And Vinay and I sat in a marquee on the lawn (how surreal was your morning?) until we reckoned it would be more comfortable in the “Black Bar”. I’m there now. I ducked out of the session on “Monads and Comonads”. Because.
I’m mostly interested in the social and economic effects of blockchain tech especially the coming wave of white collar automation, so please piing me if you’re here and want to have a chat. i’m not on-site all day every day but I will be dropping by regularly.
This is a boiled down version of the podcast I put out this morning.
If you can’t spare 20 minutes, but have 5 minutes for video watching it’ll be perfect for you!
On the Sunday morning at Hacklands, after we’d heard some lovely Chopin, James Tagg got up to speak about his new book “Are The Androids Dreaming Yet?” a popular science look at the history and potential future of Artificial Intelligence. I sat down with James a few weeks later to talk more about the ideas in the book.
Back in August, listening to the talk, I realised just how strongly ingrained our idea is that machines will just get smarter and smarter until they meet and then exceed human capability but also the implication that we’re advanced machines ourselves. Many people are resigned to it, accepting that it will happen sometime in the near future. And we do see machines doing things routinely now that a few years ago would have been impossible – the example I always think of is language translation, I would have argued (even five years ago) that it was just too complex a task for machines to do, and while Google Translate isn’t quite perfect, it does a much better job than I would have predicted. I was wrong.
But. I also believe that there are human qualities and activities that machines might mimic well, but that that isn’t the same as them being intelligent. But what if I’m just wrong (again…)?
In his book and in the conversation we’ve recorded, James moves the argument from beliefs and faith, to the arena of mathematical proof. He shows how the work of Hilbert, Gödel and Turing (among many others), which formed the basis of digital computing in the last century, also holds the key to understanding its limitations.
The good news is that creativity and free will remain something we can reserve for ourselves – and to prove it, I woke up this morning and decided to write this post, and I made up which words to use and the order in which I put them. I think.
Download the podcast (21MB)
Buy the book!
PS if you like talking about this stuff and you’re near London, you can join in the conversation at Future of Work: Artificial Intelligence on November 10th.
As well as the sessions in Leeds, Helen and I are organising a series of events on the Future of Work and emerging technologies with our friend James Tagg of Truphone (his was the farm where we did Hacklands).
The subjects are the four areas that we’re focusing on at Tuttle these days with an emphasis on how they’re changing the world of work:
Artificial Intelligence – 10th November
Blockchains – 19th November
Drones Robots and the Internet of Things – 24th November
Virtual & Augmented Realities – 1st December
All the events are happening at the Truphone offices on 21st Floor of 25 Canada Square and since the clocks will have gone back by then, you’ll see the night-time version of the view of Docklands and beyond.
However, it is the conversation you will come for! We’ll have a couple of contributions to kick things off at 6pm but then we’ll get into Open Space and you get to talk about what interests you. Here’s some more blurb:
“Our relationship with work and technology is complicated. We strive to reduce the difficulty and danger of work for people, but we want to keep our jobs-based economy. For many people, work gives meaning to their lives and yet they hate their job.
In this series, we’ll be looking at the gap between advances in technology and our social capacity to deal with them, especially in the context of how work is changing.”
Also if you’re interested in this stuff, but not already a member of the Tuttle Group on Facebook, you should join.
People of the North! I’m going to be holding three, short(ish), daytime Open Space sessions in Leeds in the first week of November as part of a series of events organised by Helen Keegan and Heroes of the Mobile Fringe.
Come along and talk about the future!
The sessions (more details of each on their booking pages) are:
Future of Work
“How will you survive and thrive in the future of work?”
Tuesday 3rd Nov 10.00-12.30
Future of Mobile (inc. a talk from James Tagg of Truphone)
“What does the future of mobile hold for us?”
Wednesday 4th Nov 10.00-12.30
Future of Mobile Advertising (with Helen Keegan)
“What does the future of mobile advertising look like?”
Wednesday 4th Nov 15.00-17.30
All the events are at
aql Salem Bar
11-15 Hunslet Road
LS10 1JQ Leeds
If you can’t make daytime, but would like to say hello, come to Swedish Beers on the Tuesday night.
It’s a week since I decided to spend my work time in the public spaces of the National Theatre. It’s been good. I’ve turned up every day. People have dropped by for a chat more than sitting and working together, which is OK and it’s been nice to see some unexpected faces. My weekend was wiped out by a rotten cold and I’m not back at 100% yet but I’ve come in and done little bits of writing and audio editing.
I’ve wandered throughout the building and I’m finding some favourite spots. The Olivier cafe area between level 2 and 3 is quiet a lot of the time, but popular with chatty staff meetings. The wifi holds up all over – it’s not great for VOIP, it seems to dip up and down too much for that (I’m sure there are smartphones trying to connect all the time.)
There are lovely outside spaces on the balconies and the weather has been perfect.
I realised this morning that it’s turned into a bit of a duty, I feel like I’ve got to be there in case people show up, which is ridiculous, but it’s really helped me to have more of a routine and somewhere to go. It also is good for me to be overhearing staff conversations and remembering just how many people it normally takes to get seemingly small things done so I can let myself off the hook for not achieving as much on my own.
It will continue.