The room is awash with creative types. I’m listening to a conversation between two PR people about a PHD student’s conceptual art work overlayed with one young, possibly Spanish, entrepreneur giving business advice to another and a young girl talking about her new haircut (no tech or creative connection). Young entrepreneur one has just used term “sweet spot” which he probably read in a book. He consults a notebook full of facts and jargon. Entrepreneur two has just used the word “innovation”. It’s all very advanced and northern powerhouse like. I have asked permission to film and have sent the footage to my local MP titled ‘The tech scene in Leeds’ – I am hoping for 2889.487 twitter followers.
I’m sat in one of Leed’s many new cool coffee shops complete with barista training school, Robait Tea and enough creativity to start at least a medium sized brand consultancy.
The coffee is excellent, I turned down the opportunity to try the Wild Robot Tea. Tea experts will have by now already exclaimed the rarity of this type of tea – mainly driven by the fact it doesn’t exist! I had, of course, misread the menu board. As a precautionary measure I’d double checked with the barista serving that this strain of tea wasn’t in fact using artificial intelligence or any type of machine learning algorithm to harvest my deepest thoughts on tea and use them for advertising purposes. “No” he said, “That’s good” I replied as I explained my reluctance to divulge my beverage drinking habits to all and sundry.
After picturing a scene of robots running wild through the countryside harvesting tea, I returned to the moment.
It was no surprise I had robots on the brain, a quick read of my favourite social networks this morning threw up a tech cocktail of examples of how artificial intelligence (AI) and its offshoot Machine Learning (ML) are increasingly being used in all areas of society.
According the PwC report water discussed, sewage and waste management industries are the most at risk occupations for replacement by robots. No mention of baristas.
For those interested in thoughts on life after the robot ‘takeover’, listen to Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel on Radio 4’s The Social Philosopher.
The audience provide a fascinating insight into the diverse thoughts the general public on AI and human sense of purpose as well as practical economic considerations such as universal basic incomes for all.
Anyway that’s enough machine learning for one day, time for another coffee.