In case any of you noticed, I was out of the office yesterday morning attending an event in London, at the kind invitation of our PR agency, Champion Communications. They were hosting an event called ‘Breakfast of Champions’, which was at Shoreditch House. The event centred on a Q&A session with an author called Luke Dormehl, who has just written a book on algorithms, called ‘The Formula’. It was certainly an intellectual way to start the day!
After making my way from Surrey all the way into town (sweltering on the tube as I went), I arrived to see the Champion team buzzing around the room making sure everything was in order as the guests arrived. It was great to see the team in action, and soon the room was filling up with guests, clients, and journalists.
After chatting with some friendly faces, and having a bite to eat, we were given a brief introduction to the event by Champion’s director and founder, Richard Cook, who explained why they were hosting this event; which was to provide a stimulating breakfast networking environment, and also to give some food for thought for us all as business people, in whichever capacity that is.
Once he finished his introduction, the presenter and author took to the stage to discuss the book and give some insight into why he chose to write it. ‘The Formula’ is a book all about how algorithms are used in business and society, and soon the audience were asking questions ranging from how this affects policing through to search engine results on Google.
I must say that it was a different, yet very thought provoking way to spend a morning. Data collection, data mining, and the analysis of this data are becoming an increasing part of society, with both pros and cons. What was apparent from much of the discussion is that common sense, from a human perspective, is always necessary, as data cannot always be relied upon to solve problems. The human brain is something that cannot be underestimated!
Once finished, we were lucky enough to get a signed copy of the book. What struck me, from an MTI perspective, is that throughout my career I have always preferred to live in the real, not virtual world – getting out there, doing business face-to-face, and not relying on a computer to give me the answer when faced with a business problem. Yes, computers have their place, but often you cannot underestimate the value of one-to-one interactions in the business world.