Breaking the law seems like a rational act for AI startups, and what to do about it at the AI summit

“National security” scale risks are the topic of the “AI Safety Summit”, which is the sort of thing you want governments to spend their time reducing. I’m glad there’s a summit on a potential catastrophe, as we should do more about all catastrophic risks… so how’s climate going?

Some in civil society argue that catastrophic harms are not the best topic for a summit, and they may even be right, but it is the summit it is. That the summit organisers cited the power of health chatbots as the epitome of civil society (p17) suggests someone listened too much to the bankrupt company Babylon rather than those who were proven right. The cash for scrutiny of health chat bots in civil society is probably less than the summit will spend on snacks and nibbles, and certainly less than the well funded tech fringe will spend on refreshments (although maybe it’s more than Babylon Health PLC’s current market cap). Show me your budgets, and I’ll see your priorities.

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posted: 24 Oct 2023

What is Cambridge for?

Government is apparently thinking about encouraging innovation in Cambridge, again.

All innovation in Cambridge stems from a choice 800 years ago, that the University remains very proud of, when a bunch of people left Oxford and chose to be in Cambridge instead. Their successors still want to be here.

What is Cambridge for, beyond a legacy of a small bunch of refugees from Oxford? 

Because Cambridge is Cambridge, a new batch of optimism shows up each year, and some will be educated into innovators who wish to stay, as they always have, if they can stay as they always have until now.

The best way to support future innovators is to look after the place that looks after them. 

For readers with children, when you’re picking them up from school today (or think about when you did pick them up from primary school), there’s the row of pegs with children’s names on them. Which of those kids will be able to live here, in a decade or two? Which of those kids will be unable to do any of the things that Cambridge says it can do for people?

Because when people are earning above average salaries and still can’t afford to live here, that’s a problem for the staff who are necessary for that primary school to open tomorrow.

All innovation in Cambridge is entirely dependent upon the ecosystem around Cambridge.

posted: 09 Jul 2023