Your algorithmic future: weapons of maths creation and destruction

Your algorithmic future: weapons of maths creation and destruction

Science Fiction writer William Gibson said “The future is already here, it’s just not widely distributed.” When you look around you can see the truth of that statement. Most of the technologies that will influence us over the next few decades already exists. In many ways it feels like we’re living in parts of that future. We can 3-D print replacement jaws for people. And 3D printing was invented over 30 years ago. In NDRC, where I work, we have companies working on embedded sensors for post operative bleed detection, and working on helping kids with focusing and ADHD problems through neuro-feedback game play. [1]  In many ways technology is enriching our lives. In reality the title of this piece is less ‘Our Algorithmic Future’ than ‘Our Algorithmic Present’. As a technophile that’s very exciting. I have a deep and abiding love of science and the wonderful possibility of technology. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov (his science and his fiction), Arthur C Clarke and Carl Sagan. And watching Star Trek, Tomorrow’s World and other optimistic visions of technology and the future. At the same time there is a darker side to technology. Paul Erlich said “To err is human, to really foul things up requires a computer.” It’s not hard to find examples. California released 450 high-risk, violent prisoners, on an unsuspecting public in 2011, due to a mistake in its computer programming. ‘We-connect’ an app based vibrator which captures the date and time of each use and the selected vibration settings, and transmits the data — along with the users’ personal email address — to its servers...
10 Ways that the Websummit is like Disneyland

10 Ways that the Websummit is like Disneyland

I took the kids to Disneyland last year. I was reminded of that experience today. (I skipped that last few Websummits and it’s grown a wee bit since the first one in Bewley’s Hotel in Oct 2009 and the ones in 2010/2011). More or less tongue in cheek Lots of money spent on AI and figuring out how to manage queues still means “there are lots of queues.” The food is overpriced. (Websummit have better overpriced food but it’s still well overpriced). Like Disney bring in your own food (especially if you’re a struggling startup) or go outside for food. Base Pizza will run you €11.50 for best pizza in Dublin and a drink. Or soup in Insomnia even cheaper. You’ll spend a lot of time on your feet walking from attraction to attraction. Its not quite Walt Disney Studios / Disneyland back and forth but its not far off.  The good talks/rides are too short.  You’re just starting to enjoy them when they’re over……. Three days is enough. There’s only so much you can take. While it can be great fun eventually you’re in need of something more substantial. And the same goes for Websummit. The best map of the venue is on paper. You need to pace yourself. It goes from pre-summit breakfast events, through the summit itself to lots and lots of parties. In Disney it was get in early, take a break in the middle of the day and come back refreshed. Some variation of this is probably a good summit plan too. Mickey Mouse makes an appearance. OK no Mouse there was someone with...
A sense of #Úllconf

A sense of #Úllconf

I have copious notes to write up on Ùll. Pages and pages. Eventually The images below are a sensory fragments of a  “A family wedding without the family rows.” It is to paraphrase someone in the corridor “Enough technology to qualify as a business event, but to call it a technology event undersells the scale of what it does”. And yes. The 5K was completed (evidence below)....
#Cong14 Thoughts and Reflections (Or Everything you wanted to know about Congregation but were afraid to ask)

#Cong14 Thoughts and Reflections (Or Everything you wanted to know about Congregation but were afraid to ask)

My mind is still buzzing from #Cong14. More ideas per square minute than most events would have in a week. It was a day and more of conversation and serendipity. People I’ve known online and off. Some of the connections have deep roots. Sean McGrath who’s blog I first paid attention to over a decade ago, but had never met and Bernie Goldbach who I first met when the crackle of dial up modems was how I got online. Initial plans to drive down to Galway on Friday morning were changed by Client meetings. There was a pitstop in Galway and the needful pilgrimage to Charlie Byrnes before a final fogbound trip out to Cong in the dark.  I met  Rurai Kavanagh  Gianno Catalfamo and the man behind Congregation Eoin Kennedy for a quick drink, and a brief tour of Cong. Later that evening I chatted with Fiona Ash and Amanda Webb with a roaring fire, the Late Late Toy Show and conversation flowing. Saturday was #Cong14 proper.  50 plus people registered in Ryans and were assigned to huddles for the the day.  This was where the key problem of Congregation presented itself. Too much good stuff across and too many good people. As chance would have it I spent three of my four huddles in ‘The Quite Cailin’. Each of the huddles needs a post in itself. The idea was that over an hour two people would present their papers and the group would discuss in an open unconference type format. Our first huddle started with Maryrose Lyons talk “We need to talk about porn” and that is all we did for for the next hour....