All posts by Lloyd Davis

Future of Work: Drones, Robots & IoT with @priyascape

Priya Prakash from Design for Social Change came along to our third Future of Work event at Truphone to talk about how work might change when some of our colleagues are a network of sensing machines talking to each other.


Discussions that followed included:

  • IoT: Main uses in the next 10 years
  • Knowledge Management & Human to Human Interaction
  • What makes us human? What is human?
  • So what do *you* think will be the impact of IoT on the future of work?
  • Where are the lines between living & working?
  • What’s the future of design in this context?

At all of these sessions, we’ve ended in a circle asking people to record their reflections.  Listening to this should give you a better feel of what it was like in the room.

If you’ve written something about the evening or inspired by your conversations, do let me know.

Future of Work: Blockchains with @imogenheap

We started the second Future of Work event with an introduction to Mycelia from Imogen Heap.  If you haven’t read it yet, the two-part interview she did on Forbes is a great starting point.  In a nutshell, she calls it “Fairtrade for musicians”  it’s intended to be a way of using smart contracts on the blockchain to manage metadata about an artist’s works (including that important metadata about price and how money gets distributed after each sale).

The discussions afterwards included:

  • Blockchain as a method of trust
  • How do we make Mycelia a foundation & make money for itself?
  • Autonomy embedded
  • Money creation on the blockchain
  • Beacon Music App
  • Mobile Blockchain
  • Does Technology democratize or amplify differences in Human Power Relationships?
  • Crowdsourced Artistic Market?
  • What is the Finance Industry?
  • Scaling and Sequestration
  • Distributed Identity
  • UI & UX How do we interact with the blockchain. Author User
  • Devising Gaming Mechanics on the block chain (Educational)
  • The Musician Development Bank
  • Fair Trade Music Light!
  • What is the overhead of running a blockchain system to record all, say FX transactions or all music plays

We finish each evening with a circle where we pass around an audio recorder to capture people’s immediate reactions.  Have a listen to get more of a feel for what it was like in the room.

If you were there and have written anything about the evening or inspired by your conversations, please do let me know so I can spread the word.

Future of Work: AI – with @benjaminellis

This was the first of a series of evenings at Truphone looking at the future of work in the context of four currently maturing technologies.  We started off with a focus on Artificial Intelligence and were given a great overview by Benjamin Ellis of Redcatco.

Discussions that followed included:

  • What happens when the AI is wrong?
    Social Machines (where/how/what)
  • The social acceptability of AI decisions, even if they are better than human ones
  • I want IRON MAN’s suit!
  • AI & Regulation Self/Gov
  • Are we driving AI… or does it drive us?
  • Why AI? Are we creating stuff because we can or because it adds to the human condition or…?
  • UIs How do we talk to them and them to us? How do they sell their ideas? Spectrum from Sound Hound to C3PO to HAL
  • If a machine/AI does something bad (kills someone) who is responsible? The owner, the manufacturer, the programmer or the victim?
  • What will we be using AI for in the next few years? What can I use it for now?
  • Is AI artificial ie not human?

We finish each evening with a circle where we pass around an audio recorder to capture people’s immediate reactions.  Have a listen to get more of a feel for what it was like in the room.

David Terrar did a write up for the Agile Elephant Blog.  If you were there and have written anything yourself, do let me know and I’ll add a link.



Future of Mobile AI with @jamestagg @truphone

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!

Ethereum #Devcon1 Day 1

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.

Podcast with @jamestagg: Are The Androids Dreaming Yet? #artificialintelligence

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.