Category Archives: Computing

Effective Age-gating for Online Alcohol Sales (Final Report)

‘Surprised?  No, not really!’

The ‘Effective Age-gating for Online Alcohol Sales’ report, funded by Alcohol Change UK, is published today.  Written by Jess Muirhead and Vic Grout, it considers the question of how easy it is for UK under 18s to purchase alcohol via the Internet, and makes five key recommendations:

Recommendation 1: The law must be clarified

Despite its best intentions, the current law is ambiguous in relation to how and where safeguards are to be applied to prevent under 18s obtaining alcohol online.  If the intention really is to allow age-checking on delivery as a substitute for online verification then that should be published as official guidance by the relevant authorities.  However, knowing such measures to be as ineffective as they are, it is to be hoped that the necessary clarification would move the law in the other direction: that robust online age verification – at the transaction stage – becomes a clear legal requirement.

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AI/Machine Learning for Minefield Clearance

“Glyndwr University researcher seeks real world data to develop AI landmine clearance”

A landmine research project which aims to develop an artificial intelligence approach to mine clearance is being developed at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The project – which is currently in its developmental stages – is being developed by Computing PhD student Alexander Bruckbauer who is working on building the model under the supervision of Professor of Computing Futures Vic Grout.

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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.

Enjoy!


Turing Test for Dogs

A good, punchy, witty reminder from Existential Comics that most people who drone on about the ‘Turing Test’, particularly news reports that some new software has ‘passed the Turing Test’, have never even read, let alone understood, Turing’s original 1950 paper.

Just to recap on a few essentials:

  • The ‘Turing Test’, even by today’s common interpretation, relies on a human decision-maker, whose sophisitication in recognising AI presumably increases with the development of AI itself.  It isn’t precise enough to be a ‘test’.  It never was a ‘test’.
  • Turing himself, never proposed any ‘test’, merely an illustrative game to compare impressions of intelligence.
  • The figures Turing gave were a prediction of what might be possible, not a benchmark for passing any ‘test’.
  • There is no ‘Turing Test’.

Read the paper!