in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #219 — Word wrestling

A four-day week of two distinct halves. Work felt quiet with so many people in the team out of the office. I love it when there are big chunks of empty space in the diary that I can use to get things done.

On Wednesday afternoon I joined the London CTOs group for a virtual meetup on the topic of Leveraging Generative AI (including ChatGPT) in Business and Organisations. It fascinated me that most of the conversation focused on the rate of change and the ethical considerations rather than specific business problems that were being addressed through the technology. James Conroy-Finn suggested taking a look at The A.I. Dilemma, the recent video from the Center for Humane Technology. After a long day, I settled down to watch — and afterwards couldn’t stop thinking about it. It left me in a funk that I carried into the office the next day and all the way through to Saturday when I got it out of my system.

When something starts to interest or bug me, I get the urge to work out my feelings through writing about it. Getting the words down feels like wrestling, but it’s so satisfying when it’s done; it feels as though my brain is freed-up again. Clicking the ‘post’ button this week was a big weight off — for now, at least, as I know I’m barely scratching the surface on the topic. I also figure that I will never be a writer, as getting out a blog post that takes just eight minutes to read can be a four or five hour effort spread across commutes, evenings and weekends.

This was a week in which I:

  • Completed a thorough review of a lean business case for a new initiative at work.
  • Spent more time with my immediate team, refining our ideas for the ‘brands and products’ that we provide to the rest of the organisation.
  • Revised and refined the text for our quarterly report to the company board.
  • Met with a new joiner in our team to welcome him and introduce him to my corner of the world.
  • Was given a fantastic idea by our Marketing and Communications team for how we can try to drive further adoption of the new password manager that we have introduced at work.
  • Attended a presentation on cloud security given to our internal Technology Architecture community. The talk got me thinking about how complex the cloud platforms have become, wondering how people can possibly keep up with all of the concepts and facilities available to them. I guess that there a need for some kind of automated ‘reconciliation’ of a cloud configuration back to a blueprint or spec. I also guess that this exists already.
  • Joined a meeting to hear feedback from two senior Architecture forums that took place in the past month.
  • Met with colleagues to look at the processes around our Information Asset Register and the impact or overlap to some work we have planned for this year.
  • Enjoyed a Learning Hour session with our Head of Tax as our guest speaker. Getting people to talk about what they know is fascinating. We have a healthy pipeline of talks to take us to the end of May.
  • Prepared for, and chaired, our school Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee meeting at school. It was great to spend time with our new interim Headteacher.
  • Was very proud of my eldest son who ran a personal best of 4m02s in a 1500m track race. His time means that he is in with a good shot for representing our county at national level.

  • Did some much-needed housekeeping on my wife’s laptop, upgrading the operating system and making sure that her Time Machine backups were working.
  • Had a fabulous Friday night out with friends, taking full advantage of their home karaoke setup to sing songs ranging from Young MC, Omar, Billy Bragg and Elvis Presley. All bases covered.
  • Met up with my family for a barbecue for my niece’s birthday. We found ourselves together on a beautiful sunny afternoon sandwiched between days of rain. Getting together for an afternoon is always too short, especially after we were spoiled by a whole week together last year.
  • Started watching Silo on AppleTV+. So far, so good. I love a dystopian drama, especially at the end of a week of thinking about AI.

Next week: Another four-day week, with a busy diary again.

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