Covid-19 built walls between disadvantaged kids & education. Let’s knock them down and replace them with bridges to close the digital divide

Some 300 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton said: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Since then, in their commentary on social issues, many others have turned to the stark contrast between walls and bridges. Walls are a captivating and divisive theme — the Berlin Wall, the US-Mexico border wall, even Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland!

But usually, as with Pope Francis’ 2019 “build bridges, not walls” reference to the plight of refugees, we’re looking at a metaphorical use.

When I think about Covid-19 at its worst, I see metaphorical walls everywhere. We erected them between ourselves and the…


Fashion used to change every September, but artificial intelligence is helping the industry slip into something a little longer-lasting

We are but a bobbin’s throw from September. Anyone who’s ever seen R.J. Cutler’s fascinating behind-the-scenes look at American Vogue, The September Issue, will understand that “September is the January in fashion.” Thanks to the couture bible’s Candy Pratts Price, we now know this is the month — and issue of the magazine — that heralds a glossy annual reset for the multi-billion pound industry:

“This is when I change, this is when I’m going to try and get back into high heels, ‘cos that’s the look,” the striking fashion editor tells us.

But who will help Candy and her…


Machine vision can easily confuse doughnuts & bagels, cats & dogs, and other similar things too. Why? And how can we fix it?

As National Doughnut Week kicks off, aiming to raise vital funds for The Children’s Trust, there’s a lot more to think about than whether to pick ring-shaped or hole-less, glazed or plain, filled or solid, cream or jelly. And I’m not talking about boldly branching out into the weird and wonderful world of doughnut hybrids — we’re already faced with enough choice without throwing cronuts and duffins into the mix.

No, I speak of the intersection between doughnuts and Artificial Intelligence. Yes, AI and mankind’s favourite sugary treat are entangled in a relationship — albeit a sticky one. …


With its first Artificial Intelligence Day just around the corner, I take a look at Tesla’s current progress towards achieving full self-driving capabilities

A little bird told me that Tesla soon plans to hold an Artificial Intelligence Day. Or was it a drone? Actually, neither…it was Elon Musk himself. And of course, he didn’t call me personally, instead sharing the welcome news on Twitter.

In a post earlier this week, the electric vehicle & clean energy company’s CEO said the event will likely take place “in about a month or so” and will “go over progress with Tesla AI software & hardware, both training & inference”. He closed with a few words bound to get a few engines revving: “purpose is recruiting”. …


How designing for the minority can help protect the LGBTQ+ community and improve the internet for everybody

We’re nearing the close of Pride month, 30 colourful days when people come together in unity and solidarity to celebrate the queer community and the vast distance LGBTQ+ rights have come. In fact, just yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting an Allyship award at the 2021 EY Unity LGBT+ Awards.

June (the month of the landmark 1969 Stonewall riots) may soon come to an end, but what doesn’t end is the need to continue to teach LGBTQ+ history, promote tolerance, challenge homophobia and campaign for equality and diversity in all areas of life.

Of course, in some places, there’s…


“In the Navy,” as the 1979 song goes, recruits can “learn science technology.” That was true then, and it’s true now, as Navies across the world use AI to tighten defence at sea.

The XLUUV

The Village People got it right when they said Navy recruits can not only “sail the seven seas” but also “learn science technology.” Of course, at the time, the campy American disco group had in mind the United States Navy, who incredibly employed In the Navy for a television and radio ad campaign. But the sentiment applies equally today to the British Royal Navy, now increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to tackle present and future challenges.

In April, the Royal Navy quietly debuted a small autonomous submarine — aka, an Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV). At nine-tonnes (roughly the same…


As a member of the new Scottish AI Alliance Leadership Circle, I’ll help shape a healthier relationship between Scotland & artificial intelligence. Here’s how & why…

This week, I was beyond thrilled to announce that I’ve been selected as a member of the Scottish AI Alliance Leadership Circle, a new multi-stakeholder group with representation from across society. Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Economy, Kate Forbes, describes us as:

“dynamic, incisive, international, and representative.”

And she’s right. In the Leadership Circle, I join others, including members of the public and leading tech experts from top public and private sector organizations and universities. Working collaboratively with an open dialogue and a focus on decisive action, we’ll support the crucial work of Scotland’s AI Strategy.

The thirteen members…


To optimise UX, we usually go for a minimalist experience. But is there something to be said for a maximalist approach?

Maximalist web design

Maximalism makes me think more of the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus than the design term denoting an “aesthetic of excess.” Both share the same etymological roots and, like maximalism, the real Maximus was all about the idea that ‘more is more.’

After Maximus was declared emperor by his British troops in 383, he travelled to Gaul to pursue greater imperial ambitions. There, he usurped the Western Emperor, Gratian, going on to rule Britain, Gaul, Spain, and Africa. But he wanted more, eventually trying to invade Italy in 387. …


I once Googled ‘unusual mactini recipes‘ instead of ‘martini’ & my mistake sucked me down an internet rabbit hole…

It all started when I clicked upon the 2008 BBC comedy The New Mactini to find John (cue rimless specs and lego man haircut) giving me a guided tour of “the latest revolution in computer technology…the Mactini.”

After his intro, the camera cuts to a postage-stamp-sized laptop that John calls “the smallest computer in the world.” It soon becomes clear the target of the parody is Steve Jobs’ Apple.

I immediately fall in love with the Mactini’s unique selling point: a single key that “performs all the functions of a regular keyboard.” To type each letter of the alphabet, the…


The two organizations teamed up to build a blockchain network for Xbox rights & royalties processing. Here’s why…

Xbox Series X

Serious ‘cool mum’ points — as expected, that’s what I earned when my kids and their gaming pals discovered that EY has been partnering with tech behemoth Microsoft on a game-changing blockchain-based solution for their favourite console, Xbox.

The latest link in a long and sturdy…erm…chain of EY blockchain activity (sorry, I just couldn’t resist), the solution is pretty simple — even if it did take more than a little explaining to my teens.

The transparent blockchain network essentially means Xbox can capture gaming rights and royalties on its platform, fully automating a process formerly done through a slow, expensive…

Catriona Campbell

Behavioural psychologist; AI-quisitive; EY UK&I Client Technology & Innovation Officer. Views my own & don't represent EY’s position. catrionacampbell.com

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