Tony Edwards

Forward with Fibre

- 2 mins

Forward with fibre is a networking conference bringing together businesses and organizations from across Cornwall with a vested interest in the future of the county’s fibre network.

I was lucky enough to attend as a guest of Unlocking Potential via Plymouth University. I met lots of like minded individuals from a range of industries in Cornwall, all of whom have an interest in what software can do for them. There was also the added bonus of unlimited coffee and the chewiest cookies I’ve ever had.

The Eden project, in the heart of Cornwall, was the perfect venue. It acted as a metaphor for the event, setting something almost space age against a rural backdrop. I took the long route during the switch between sessions, and had a good look around. I’m looking forward to going back next summer to explore the Bio Domes fully.

The talks of the day coved a wide range of topics including:

The stand out talk of the day was by Peter Cochrane, a futurist (I wasn’t sure either) from Ipswich. He discussed his view on the direction technology is heading in the areas of medicine, manufacturing and planetary exploration (in a round about way). Peter highlighted a number of jobs that had disappeared due to the increase in computing in our lives, suggesting some he feels might go in the future. Thankfully computer programming wasn’t one of them. I will always thank Peter for inserting the phrase “sausage farm” into my vocabulary. It’s a charming term for standardised education institutes.

I will always thank Peter for inserting the phrase “sausage farm” into my vocabulary.

He went on to talk about the IBM Watson cognitive computer, the latest in artificial intelligence from big blue. I had heard about it previously in the context of wining double jeopardy in the U.S but didn’t know much beyond this. It has some exciting potential in a huge number of fields, notably medicine. In testing, it has a high success rate in medical diagnosis, a fact that is making me reconsider my views on AI. Watson currently has a free developer API, something I’m looking forward to playing around with.

Overall I had a great day, filled with fantastic conversations and some time at the beautiful Eden Project. It certainly beat an afternoon of database and UML theory at the sausage farm…..I mean university 🙂

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