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.

#futureofwork evenings at @Truphone in November(ish)

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.

Open Spaces in Leeds #futureofwork with @heroesofmobile

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.