Category Archives: Academia

New edition of ‘Conscious’

Yes, indeed, there’s a new edition of the novel!

Updated slightly to reflect changing world events (although, sadly, all the initial predictions are pretty much coming true now).  And with a swish new cover!  Just search for ‘Vic Grout Conscious’ on Amazon in your region (and choose the one with the cool blue cover) or use the direct links below.


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

Sackville Gardens

A walk in a Manchester Park on a Sunday morning …

Tucked away between Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road train stations is a quiet – but very touching – memorial to Alan Turing.  In Sackville Park (or Sackville Gardens, depending on which map you consult), a figure sits, holding an apple, on a bench.  Both are cast in bronze.  The relief reads, ‘Alan Mathison Turing 1912-1954′ along with an ENIGMA-style coding of, ‘Founder of Computer Science’.  At the figure’s feet, a further inscription reads, ‘Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime codebreaker, victim of prejudice … Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture’, the second part being a quotation from Bertrand Russell.


Continue reading


Now available as eBook and paperback

What makes something sentient?  What does it take for an entity to be aware of its own existence and to want to interact with the world of its own accord?  Is it a gift from God or hard science?  Is it something fundamentally human or animal in nature or is it a simple technological principle based on brain size?  There are many models, of course.  But, if consciousness is simply a natural product of neural complexity then eventually, in theory, we might build something – a computer or a machine – that was actually big enough to wake up!

Oh, wait …!

The widespread ramblings, which have appeared on this blog over the years, now make a partial contribution to a novel.  (See


Vic Grout’s Conscious is set a year or three into the future.  The ‘Internet of Everything’ is making the world a more connected place than ever before.  People’s lives are becoming increasingly automated.  But something odd is happening … ‘Things’ are beginning to misbehave and no-one can work out why.  What starts as an amusing inconvenience quickly becomes very serious indeed!

A ragged bunch of academics, scientists and philosophers are on the case – and may know the answer.  But now they have to convince people that their crazy explanation is true.  And that’s only the start.  Against a backdrop of a world suddenly beginning to fall apart, they’re in a race against time to get someone to do anything about it.  And not everyone is on their side!

Continue reading