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rtifi cial intelligence has always fascinated me. Movies like Westworld, which I watched

as a teenager in the 1970s, through to Spielberg’s A.I. that I watched with my children in the early noughties, to last year’s mesmerising Ex Machina have fed my imagination of what robots might mean for us in the future. My curiosity was further kindled recently when I was invited to attend

Now that machines are starting to learn, and they are, there will be very little that separates us

an evening discussion entitled ‘Technology: how far can it go?’ Described as “an evening of

discussion and myth-busting about technology, the digital ‘mind’ and the future of work” it sounded right up my, and TJ’s, street. T e discussion took place at the

Corinthia Hotel and was organised by the London Press Club. T e high-tech nature of the subject was matched with the equally high rate of champagne consumption that one expects in a gathering of journalists – and more imbibing took place later in the designated area of the

4 | October 2016 |

bar given over to further discussion. T e discussion was led by chief

technology offi cer Toby Simpson from global learning company Ososim. An expert in artifi cial intelligence, he started in the fi eld of computer games in the early 1990s working with the AI company DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in 2014. Simpson started his initial

presentation by reassuring us that AI wasn’t the technological bogeyman some of us fear. As he aptly put it, “If it gets out of control, you simply pull the plug out of the wall.” But reassurances aside, he

reminded us of the success of using AI in certain situations – quoting statistics that showed AI produces faster and more accurate assessments of radiological data. When pressed by the audience to

give some predictions he became more positive, indicating that it was possible at some point in the future to produce a machine capable of complex problem solving – the main attribute that currently separates us from machines. Now that machines are starting to

learn, and they are, there will be very little that separates us. It’s an interest- ing concept to consider. I’ll investigate further and report in a later issue. Until then, happy reading!



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