in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #278 — Explainability

Paula Radcliffe Stadium, Loughborough
Paula Radcliffe Stadium, Loughborough

I really enjoyed this week. My weekend work paid off, as I started Monday morning with the wonderful feeling of being completely on top of my brief. By lunchtime we had already finished a two-hour Steering Committee where we had made lots of decisions, giving us much more clarity on the work ahead. There’s so much to do, but it feels a lot easier when we know where we’re going.

This was a week in which I:

  • Had the regular programme and project meetings.
  • Wrote up and circulated the Steering Committee minutes.
  • Sat down with each member of my permanent team to review their objectives and have a mid-year check in. In a normal year I would have already spent significantly more time on this with them.
  • Continued to add to the list of things we need to manage as we clear out one of our offices for some essential maintenance works.
  • Had a kick-off meeting with the general contractor that will be doing the maintenance works. They spent a few days on site this week in order to get used to the space and to start to validate their assumptions, which meant that for the second week in a row I was in the office for four days out of five.
  • Reviewed a comprehensive tracker for all of the variances to the initial scope of work that we will be asking the contractor to do.
  • Met with our audio/visual design team to review their draft proposal for how we will kit out a meeting space that we share with a sister company.
  • Found that once again, it’s all about change management.
  • Bought yet another copy of Jeff Gothelf’s Forever Employable to give to a friend. I think I’ve probably bought about four or five of these now.
  • Completed some annual Compliance training.
  • Called our vet to let them know that Ollie the cat is doing fine. Our insurance claim was processed; an email telling us that we would be paid £736 was immediately followed by another that says that he will no longer be covered for respiratory distress at renewal time.
  • Spent a late afternoon and evening up in Loughborough for my eldest son’s track meet. There was a horrible fall in his race where three runners went down; he managed to jump them and continue but it was never going to be a new personal best. I’m getting quite used to driving up there and back now.
  • Opted out from the Saturday bike club ride as, once again, the weather took a turn for the worse. I was grateful for the rain as what I really needed was to catch up with some sleep. Another couple of hours in bed followed by a session on the indoor trainer was a perfect start to the weekend.
  • Gave our bathroom a deep clean. We recently said goodbye to our cleaner of many years, which means that we’re back to doing it ourselves. I’m thorough — it’s sparkling — but I’m inefficient. We’re on a mission to find ourselves a new cleaner.
  • Have been enjoying having football to watch every evening. I typically get home in time to catch the second half of whatever match is on.



  • This interview with Iliana Oris Valiente, Managing Director and Innovation lead at Accenture Canada, made me shudder. She’s using a ‘digital twin’ that she sends along to meetings on her behalf. It sounds completely tone deaf in terms of how this must feel to the people further down the organisation who won’t have the agency to be able to protest. The podcast isn’t long enough to tackle the bigger questions of the power disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and whether the ultimate endgame is a bunch of peoples’ AI bots meeting with each other.
  • The series continued with a discussion about using AI for recruitment. At no point in the conversation does it touch on the ethics of ‘explainability’. If I’m rejected for a job, who can tell me why? And if you can’t tell me why, how do I know if you’re breaking discrimination laws?


  • Finished season two of The Dry on ITVX. It’s not the most profound thing I’ve ever seen but I’ve grown to love the characters and hope there will be a series three.


  • Continued devouring Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. Fiction is food for the soul and this book exactly what I was looking for. When I’m reading fiction I find that I have to immerse myself in it and can’t put the book down for too long. This probably has a positive impact on me in that I am often reaching for the book on my phone as opposed to opening any other app.

Next week: A little heatwave and an Album Club.

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