Author Archives: Vic Grout

About Vic Grout

Chair, Clwyd South Labour Party; Professor of Computing Futures, Wrexham Glyndwr University

April Fools and Fair Weather Managers

Einstein’s contribution to science is elegantly précised by the equation  E = mc².  This is unfortunately the best I can offer …

But it is based on three decades of observation and experience, inside and outside of management.  This is how it works …

As a manager, what do you find hardest, makes you most uncomfortable, to be avoided at all costs, and wherever possible?  Is it …

  1. Spending time with your team: working out what they need, pitching-in, pulling together, but having to justify decisions made by higher management?  Or …
  2. Spending time with other managers, making decisions that affect your team, but ‘away’ from your team, often doing your best to keep things from your team?

In other words, whose side are you on?  (1) Your team’s, or (2) Management’s.  If you’re more comfortable spending all your time with other managers, but would rather not have to face your team with the decisions made, you know which you are!

Continue reading


Incompleteness, Inconsistency and Those Pesky Words!

With the exception of an image demonstrating an argument so utterly and awfully illogical, it deserves public shaming, this post largely works with abstract cases as examples in the hope of not upsetting quite as many people as it otherwise might.

We start with the background stuff …

Kurt Gödel, in 1931, dropped a bit of a bombshell on a mathematical and logical world (that was quietly believing the opposite) by showing that there are things that can’t be proven or disproven.  In other words, in all ‘vaguely normal’ systems, there are propositions that can be either true or false and it doesn’t really matter.  ‘Mathematics is incomplete‘.  In 1936, Alan Turing proved that there are problems that can’t be computed/solved and the rest of the computer science research community spent the next few decades realising that these were kind of the same thing.

Pretty disastrous, huh?

Well, no, not really.  The mathematical and computer logic world dusted itself off and got on with it.  And anyway, other branches of science – and beyond – had similar problems.  In physics, for example, there’s a limit to how closely you can measure something before you change what you’re trying to measure.  Turns out, in one form or another, ‘incompleteness’ is pretty normal in life.

So, no, incompleteness, isn’t that much of an issue.  (it just means we don’t know everything – in fact, can’t know everything: there’s some bits of science, philosophy, etc., we can’t do from our little three-and-a-half-dimensions backwater of the universe; or we’re not God, if you like.)

However, rather than ‘incompleteness’, something called ‘inconsistency’ would be a problem.  Why?  And what does that look like?

Continue reading


Alan Turing is the ‘Greatest Icon of the 20th Century’

The UK/BBC voting public’s votes are in and Alan Turing has been voted the greatest person of the 20th Century,

which is rather wonderful,

and not much else to say

So now how about the £50 note!


You’re Not My Dad! (The Kettle Said So)

So what are the chances of a global, on-demand, real-time, publicly-accessible DNA database?  (Or what are the chances of stopping it?)

The increasing simplicity and speed with which DNA testing can now be performed has already changed lives.  Not only can simple issues of parenthood be resolved (sometimes disproved) quickly – often causing great distress, the gradual expansion and combination of DNA databases has exposed relationships previously unrealised and even potentially compromising in private and working lives.

How far could this go?

Continue reading