Monday, 8 April 2019

With Linkedin - how far back do you go...?

I have a question as a result of some wondering this morning, how far back on LinkedIn should your career/role history go? Its a bit like the CV question of how many previous jobs to list but without any page length constraints. My personal history goes back to 1998, which is a consciously unconscious choice - basically because I joined Linkedin in around 2004 only 18 months or so after it launched (hence why I was able to have my name as my handle) and at that time it was only 6 years of history and since then I have simply added new jobs on top without much thought about "archiving" old ones. Apart from for curiosity value I'm not sure seeing where I was working 21 years ago (!!!) is that relevant to today, but equally a little bit of me now wants to keep it there - its a bit like those boxes you have when moving houses, they move from loft/garage to next loft/garage and don't get opened but you have a niggle about simply throwing it away even though for many, many years you haven't once looked in them. What is a good cut off? Number of roles or duration of time? Or just go with it and list it all - back to the those very first jobs? (Which for me are not listed - my time spent and roles at amongst others TSB and Sainsburys will remain a mystery.)

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The impact of "bad" commuting on our mental health - time for a new approach?

I have been wondering for a while if I'm part of the last generation of commuters... Those that are part of that mad rush to get up, dash to the station only to find out that the train you want is cancelled... Then the tube has a signal failure and you find yourself as I do now sat on a central line train in a tunnel that has been going no where for half an hour on one of the hottest days of the year. Looking to my watch I see I've now missed my 9 o'clock meeting and am wondering if I will make it in to the office in time for my 10 o'clock...

The stress, the tiredness, the long days and the loss of evenings - it all adds up to quite poor mental health... It can't be that long now until we all collectively say "enough"...?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Windows 10 - 3 years on, going strong? Is it the same?

On the 1st August 2015, I wrote a blog post called "Welcome to Windows 10 - the last version ever?" and 3 years on it seems to be partially true...!

Why? Well, Microsoft have followed a two releases a year cycle ever since and each arguably release has been a new version - we have had: The catchy titled 1511 edition after 4 months, then the Anniversary edition after a year; the Creators Update in April 2017, followed by the Fall (its Autumn!) Update in October 2017 and now we have just had the April update in, err, April 2018...

So, is it the same version as the one I installed on release day back in 2015? What is it really like 3 years on...?

Friday, 27 July 2018

Can the 4th Industrial Revolution solve our world of conflicts?

infographic on industrial revolutions
Today we live in a world of contradictions, we have people dying of obesity and yet also of hunger; we have those who have a *lot* and those that have none; there are diseases that kill in some parts and are eradicated in others. To quote Voltaire (and some also say Spiderman), "with great power comes great responsibility", the 4th Industrial Revolution of "Digital Intelligence" creates great new powers through harnessing artificial intelligence - can we use these new powers responsibly?

Friday, 20 July 2018

"Doveryai, no proveryai" or "trust, but verify" is just as relevant today?

"Doveryai, no proveryai" is a Russian proverb meaning "trust, but verify" and was a phrase adopted by Ronald Regan in the 1980's when negotiating with the Soviet Union on nuclear weapons. Its a phrase that is also one of the foundations behind crypto-currencies / blockchain's where every node needs to verify data received to ensure security.

Is it ("Trust, but verify") still relevant today? Well in today's technology world Open Source software and code libraries are taken on "trust" that they work, so why do we seem to "distrust" code created by our own colleagues? What's the difference really...?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

How do you emulate real world hyper-scale load?

And relax; the World Cup is over - congratulations to France on their win – and a huge well done to the England team too. However, the World Cup isn’t just about setting records on the pitch, with the changing ways we consume content the BBC and ITV have been setting records off the pitch for the number of online coverage.

BBC Sport pictureLive match streaming requests at the BBC increased from a total of 15.9m for Brazil 2014 to 56.3m this year (including those watching after matches the grand total of streams was 66.m); and visitors to the World Cup content on the BBC Sport website went up from 32.3m UK unique browsers in 2014 to 49.2m this year. If the same growth of online viewers happens again for 2022 then we could be looking at maybe 200m total streams.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The journey from machine learning to true artificial intelligence

In my view we are around half way along the seven level journey from ML to AI and the true potential this can offer to us is still to come. If you listen to the marketeers the world is already full of AI systems, and this is only a half truth. There are now countless machine learning systems out there but real AI systems are a long way off. The difficulties to overcome are real but there are a lot of people working to solve this.

I've been very interested in machine learning and artificial intelligence for nearly 20 years. In fact, my PhD was on this very topic and in a paper written as part of my PhD studies I wrote, back in August 2000, about the potential benefits these will have for humanity - my particular focus was on creating "Next Generation Intelligent Agents" and using these to "help both abled-bodied and disabled people interact with each other across the Internet" where my focus was on how to "advance the field through exploiting natural language processing techniques" with a direction of travel "to develop and integrate the natural language parser part of the software into a new computer operating system and perhaps one day enabling a computer to respond to voice commands making the mouse and keyboard a thing of the past." Well, that world is (finally in my view) very nearly here as covered in last week's post "Voice - its beginning to be everywhere".

This week at the BBC within Platform Engineering I chaired a fantastic discussion on the journey we are on and what comes next after Voice on our journey to true Artificial Intelligence. I've mentioned this journey several times now - about time I explain what mean by it... Basically there are seven fairly distinct levels at which sets of systems can be grouped together each building on the last as we transition from systems that are basic rules based machine learning systems to the potential of hive minds and true artificial intelligence.