Candid: Mary Carty From Curiosity to Creativity

This was the fourth in our series of #Candid talks with the wonderful Mary Carty on the 22nd of October. Rowan Manahan who was in the audience kindly did this guest post for us. The Craft of Creation – Mary Carty A #Candid talk on by the ever-candid, crafty and bogglingly creative Mary Carty quickly evolved into a high-energy dialogue about curiosity. Mary pivoted the talk early onto that subject and immediately challenged the room to think about genuine curiosity and to ask ourselves why aren’t certain questions being asked in our world. She shared with us the question that she and Anne-Marie Imafidon asked themselves last year – “Why are there so few women in tech?” More importantly, they asked themselves, “What are we going to do about it?” And thus Outbox Incubator was born. That story of 115 young double-X chromosome geniuses coming through one big house in London is familiar enough to those who followed the rise of the Outbox Executives last summer. Mary took us behind the scenes into the world of “Fun. Free. Food” – which were the pillars on which Outbox was built. Suffice to say to ensure the smooth running of any future enterprise involving young women from the ages of 11 to 22, always ensure that there is a quiet, get-away-from-it-all staircase and a bounteous stash of hot chocolate and Mars Bars. Some of Mary’s other notable questions: “Have you ever seen a panel of VCs all smiling, all at once, all day?” “Why don’t we push against or find answers to the known unknowns?” “Why don’t you give yourself permission to be curious, really curious?” Take it from a woman who has...

Algorithms : prose written by people

As the ACLU highlights the problem of Algorithms that discriminate we need to remember that Algorithms are only as good as the assumptions that they’re based on. In reality we’d be better off if we replaced the idea of Algorithms as “clean unbiased maths” with “prose instructions written by fallible people.” But alongside the potential for bringing about social progress, the Internet also holds the possibility of contributing to unlawful discrimination. An example of this potential negative impact is a patent recently acquired by Facebook that could conceivably permit loan servicers to gain access to the credit ratings of a loan applicant’s social network and then use that information to determine whether the applicant qualifies for a loan. The patent combines the possibility of serious invasions of privacy with the realistic prospect of illegal lending discrimination. More here.  The Guardian also had a piece on some of these problems two years ago. Image of Justice via...
Dubunking some of our notions about support for Science

Dubunking some of our notions about support for Science

We held our first #debunk in the Project Art Centre on the 9th of April.  It’s the first in a series of free morning Near Future events in Dublin where we explore #debunking some of the truism’s that misguide us all in our thinking and decision making. After great coffee and pastries our first speaker Barre Fitzpatrick (pictured above) spoke eloquently on the nature and role of funding for basic Science research in Ireland.  This is a topic of critical importance to Ireland as a society and its place in the world. Barre pointed out that before 1999 we lacked a serious policy and investment in Science. This despite significant achievement in Science over many years. The changed with the foundation of Science Foundation Ireland in 2000 and in some respects the period from 2000-2009 can be seen as a brief golden age for Science in Ireland.  An all too brief period it seems. Despite a decade of work the foundations that were being build are starting to crumble. A letter signed by over 900 Irish Scientists appearing just before our talk served to underline this problem. A key point that Barre made, and is raised by the letter is that By their very nature, such discoveries are not predictable and cannot be prescribed by what the Government calls “oriented basic research”. Equally unpredictable are the areas in which important discoveries will be made. Basic research should be funded on the criterion of excellence alone to ensure a credible and sustainable scientific infrastructure. The Innovation Union Scorecard shows that Ireland According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014, Ireland ranks ninth on the performance of research and innovation systems in the...