The Robot Had A Nose


C-3P0 doesn't have a schnoz. The degloved terminator has a bleak hole where his snout should be. Both the Jetson's Rosie and Futurama's Bender are arhinotic. The robot sat in front of me was different. The RoboThespian is an imposing chunk of metal. LEDs blink as servomotors whine. The exposed wiring twists as the arms […] Read More

Asymmetric Latency


I've just finished reading the most wonderful short story - Tower of Babylon by Ted Chiang. In it, he speculates on what would happen if The Tower of Babel were completed. For those unfamiliar with the legend, it tells of a people who tried to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. The […] Read More

Tales of the Algorithm: The Transparent Man


Scene: An airport. A few years from now. "I'm sorry sir, we can't let you on the flight until you visit the rest-room." I'll admit that it caught me off-guard. Surely the woman at the airline gate was joking? "Sir, two of the plane's toilets are out-of-order. At this time we're requesting all passengers void […] Read More

The Future Is About To Get Weird


Imagine, just for a moment, you could tell someone's most intimate secrets just by looking at them. Many year ago, when I was very young and you were even younger, I saw an advert in the back pages of some cheap comic. The implication was clear - SEE GIRLS NAKED! The reality was somewhat more […] Read More

What's The Next Phone Box?


As I scuttled through Piccadilly Tube Station last week, I noticed a relic of the past. Where once a dozen-or-so booths greedily gobbled up the loose change of passers-by - there now is a scar. What's the next thing which will be torn out of the landscape? Petrol stations are likely to remain - even […] Read More

Would You Shoot R2-D2 in the Face?


The most distressing movie moment I experienced when I was a child, was watching R2-D2 being shot by a TIE fighter towards the end of Star Wars. (Spoiler!) The sheer callousness of a "baddie" deliberately inflicting pain on a cute a loveable character is, I suppose, understandably upsetting - especially to a small child. I […] Read More

Rethinking Telephone Call Charges


The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom is attempting to simplify the way consumers are charged for telephone calls. (Disclaimer: I work for a company which is regulated by Ofcom. This is my personal blog.) To deal with the multitude of different types of phone numbers - each with their own unique cost - and the rise […] Read More

The Future Is Now - But Not Everybody Knows It


In July this year, I spoke at the 25th Privacy Laws Annual Conference. One of the things I most love doing is causing an audience to gasp with shock. I was asked about how businesses should best go about protecting the privacy of the customers - somewhat provocatively I replied "Why should they? Customers don't […] Read More