Artificial intelligence nearly goes up in smoke
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Artificial intelligence nearly goes up in smoke

Artificial intelligence nearly goes up in smoke

Posted on 29th March 2018

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You know when you spend ages organising and promoting an event and everything is going swimmingly…?

Well, that was Be-IT a week ago today.  We had an evening on the subject of Me, Myself and AI scheduled with our friends Simon, Carl and John from BJSS and SPARCK for last Thursday, 22nd March, at their offices at 77 Renfrew Street in the centre of Glasgow.  Over 100 people had registered, the beer and pizzas were ordered, the talks prepared, the seating arranged and then….

Fire in GlasgowAs you are probably well aware (‘cos it made the UK national news), there was a rather large fire in Victoria’s Nightclub in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.  For those not conversant with the layout of Glasgow city centre, Victoria’s is only a stone’s throw away from 77 Renfrew Street.  The fire broke out in the morning and, as the first photo here shows, made that part of the city centre a bit of a no-go area, unless you were a firefighter that is...

Unsurprisingly, the BJSS office was evacuated.  Our “disaster recovery plan” swung into action. Well, actually, we made it up on the spot, but it still worked! Fortunately we were able to get a room in the Grand Central Hotel (upwind of the fire) at Central Station and the event went ahead.

Given that quite a few streets in Glasgow city centre were closed and that everything was really disrupted, we expected that the turnout would be seriously affected.  Clearly, AI people are made of stern stuff, because about 70 turned up to hear the presentations and to receive a free copy of the BJSS Enterprise Agile book.

Simon and Carl both focused on the fun facts of AI and had some interesting information around where the world is heading and also the jobs that may not be around in the next 20 years. Carl called it a revolution, citing the example of taxi drivers losing their jobs if driverless cars take over.  This creates all sorts of issues around retraining, but in reality we have to face the fact that as this revolution rolls on it will create unemployment. That is a problem that needs to be faced and, somehow, overcome.

John dived into the more technical nature of machine learning. There were quite a few students in the audience studying for a Masters degree and their feedback was that this was a particularly useful and enjoyable session. 

Finally those who weren’t driving enjoyed a few beers and everyone enjoyed the canapés.  From a day that started looking like a disaster, it ended up being a very successful event – and our thanks are due to everyone at BJSS and SPARCK who, having been forced from their office, then helped us relocate to the Grand Central at such short notice - and while the city centre was engulfed in smoke and fire-engines!

Michael Phair, Be-IT

Be-IT BJSS event pic 1

Be-IT BJSS AI event pic 2

Be-IT BJSS AI event pic 3

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