Monday, October 7, 2019

Ada Lovelace Day

October 8 is Ada Lovelace Day. Find out more about this pioneer of computer science,  the first programmer, and celebrate her tragically short life. "Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM."

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Towards Our Intelligent Future – An AI Roadmap for New Zealand

The AI Forum, a meeting place for people interested in AI in New Zealand, has just released a report: Towards Our Intelligent Future – An AI Roadmap for New Zealand. "The report focuses on how AI can be used to help achieve New Zealand’s existing wellbeing, sustainability and economic goals - for health, transport, business and the environment among some of the many real world uses studied."

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Christie's auctions a rare Apple 1 computer

Only about 200 Apple 1 computers were ever built and sold by Apple in 1976. Many of those were subsequently traded in for a discount on the Apple II and broken down for their components. As a result, very few Apple 1s remain. Christie's in London recently auctioned one for $469,280 (USD). Read more about this here.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Alan Turing on new Bank of England's £50 note

Ten years ago I started writing a book, called The Universal Machine, in which Alan Turing was the central character. The book was published in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of Turing's birth. Around the world, computer scientists and people from the LGBQT community got together to raise public awareness of this remarkable man. A decade ago few members of the public could say who Turing was. That has now changed. A public apology from the Prime Minister was followed by a pardon, which was followed by a pardon of all those convicted under the gross indecency law. An acclaimed movie, The Imitation Game, and many other initiatives have resulted in Turing now being recognised as a genius, "the Father of Computing."
The BBC recently reported that Turing will be the new face on the £50 note. He sits along with others such as Darwin and Newton on British banknotes.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Free streaming movies, TV and documentaries

If you don't want to pay for Netflix or any of the other streaming movies and TV services here's a great alternative. Kanopy is a streaming service supported by many local libraries and universities. Log in with your library card or university login and get access to movies, TV shows and documentaries. It's particularly strong on independant art-house movies and docos. It also provides apps for iOS, Android and Amazon.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tackling bias in artificial intelligence (and in humans)

Algorithmic bias has become a hot topic in recent months and as AI becomes more widely used the subject is becoming ever more important. McKinsey & Co have published a new report titled: Tackling bias in artificial intelligence (and in humans). They write that "the growing use of artificial intelligence in sensitive areas, including for hiring, criminal justice, and healthcare, has stirred a debate about bias and fairness. Yet human decision making in these and other domains can also be flawed, shaped by individual and societal biases that are often unconscious. Will AI’s decisions be less biased than human ones? Or will AI make these problems worse?" Their report is an interesting read.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

RIP iTunes

Last week Apple announced that iTunes will be being withdrawn (at least on the Mac). After nearly 20 years iTunes will be replaced by three separate media apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. It's hard to remember what a game changer iTunes was when it was launched and how it changed the music industry allowing people, for a small cost, to download individual songs from the iTunes store. Combined with an iPod it changed the way we listened to music. However, in recent years streaming music services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music have accounted for 75% of music sales. Whilst, for those who want a physical copy of the music, vinyl album sales have soared. RIP iTunes.