Truth. And the internet.

What is truth? I wonder will anyone of us ever know. I published this on 19th July last in the Irish Times.

With the advent of the internet, many of us thought it would be much easier to know.

Back in the Middle Ages, people were told what to know by the authority of the Church. Then in the fifteenth century, Gutenberg invented the metal stamping printing press. The Church soon had to contend for distribution of information with the authority of the State and of authorised publishers. By the nineteenth century, newspaper publishers became the primary form of dissemination to the populace. This was then augmented, in the twentieth century, by radio and television broadcasters. Continue reading

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Why? The right to verify..

I wrote this whilst reflecting with Andrew Smyth about “AI Nationalism” arising from the strategic imperative of national governments to develop a strategy for AI – as many have started to do.   It is a big topic!  And I am limited to only about 850 words for each of my Irish Times columns.  I also enjoyed reading Judea Pearl’s recent “The Book of Why”. I did want to put in something about the relationship between my proposed right to verify and the right to have explained,  which is a part of the EU GDPR legislation – but ran out of word room.  Perhaps another time!   Anyway,  this was published on Thursday June 28th last.

The cancer-screening controversy resulting from the CervicalCheck debacle has devastated lives. It has also badly damaged the reputation of some health service organisations and their leadership. Continue reading

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Tesla and That Earnings Call

I wrote this piece,  which appeared in the Irish Times on May 10th, whilst reflecting on Elon Musk’s outburst on a Tesla earnings call.  Having personally, as the CEO at IONA, hosted numerous Nasdaq earnings calls over many years, I am only too aware of the dynamics and tensions of these calls. Examining Tesla further, I felt that the Company looks very fragile,  and I thought hence I understood some of Musk’s emotion.

You’re a successful entrepreneur, driving your new business hard. You of course routinely check in with your bank manager, and bring him up to date on the progress of your business and your plans for the rest of the year. He then asks “And so, where specifically will you be in terms of capital requirements?”. Continue reading

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Éirloop – just do it

My story on Éirloop, the Irish entry into the 2018 Hyperloop challenge, appeared in the Irish Times on April 19th last. I find the story fascinating, not least because it is initiative from the ground up, rather than being officially sanctioned and supported by the establishment.. Indeed, the first attempt was dismissed by officialdom in the Irish universities who were approached. And so, an inter-university inter-disciplinary team was built by the students taking their own initiative.

In 1884 Irishman Frank Ebrington, a trainee engineer, became the fastest man in the world. He boarded an empty train at Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire). Seventy-five seconds later, he had travelled 2.8km uphill to Dalkey, at an average speed of 135km/hour. He was the sole occupant of a carriage on the world’s first full scale trial ‘atmospheric railway’. Continue reading

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Irony (Facebook)

The Facebook saga would be unbelievable if were not true. My piece on the irony in all things Facebook was published by the Irish Times on March 29th last.

We Irish suspect that Americans just do not get irony. It often seems to go right over their heads. But of course this is not actually true. Instead the Americans reserve their use of irony for special occasions, and where there is little danger of miscommunication. But we Irish continuously use it to tease our friends, both to depreciate but also as a sign of affection.

All of which makes the last couple of weeks a fascinating study of trans-Atlantic irony. Continue reading

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This was published on 8th March 2018 by the Irish Times.

You may perhaps have become aware of ‘GDPR’. The office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, via business briefings and media advertising, is increasingly highlighting this new EU regulation, which comes into effect on 25th May. Continue reading

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Augmented Reality is an even larger opportunity than Virtual Reality.

I wrote this article on the potential direction of Augmented Reality, which was then published by the Irish Times on the 8th February last.

Sean O’Faolain’s famous quip “There is only one admirable form of the imagination: the imagination that is so intense that it creates a new reality, that it makes things happen” came to mind recently as I mused about artificial reality technology. Continue reading

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