Blog Archive

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Clown gets the Crown, The Art of Ai-Da Robot, Quote from the new PM.

The Clown gets the Crown

According to his family, Boris Johnson announced as a child that he wanted to be 'King of the World". As that position is currently unavailable he has finally secured a runner-up slot as UK Prime Minster, taking over from Theresa May, whose downfall he help secure.

The German news magazine, Der Spiegel

Boris has scarcely hidden his burning ambition and his desire to do almost anything to get what he considers the crown. I see it more of a poisoned chalice right now, particularly as he is clearly promising everyone whatever he thinks they want to get their support. 

In just the last few weeks he has been promising big tax cuts for the middle classes, huge investments outside London and in our schools, amongst many other things. On his first day as PM, he promised to start recruiting 20,000 Police officers immediately at a cost of £500m per annum, and a couple of days later promised £2bn for a Manchester to Leeds fast rail service and £3.6bn for 'deprived towns' and £300m for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I wonder where the money's coming from?

Oh and this morning he has just committed another £2.1bn to Brexit. I wonder when / if these promises will stop?

And he is still maintaining the UK will have left the EU by October 31st, "do or die, no ifs no buts". I have no idea how he can deliver it, and more worryingly, I suspect he doesn't either.

The market reaction to a new Tory government is usually positive. Within a day or two of Boris being elected and his new cabinet formed, Sterling had slumped to its lowest in over two years, mainly on fears of a no-deal Brexit.

I think he has proved his talents amply in the following areas:

Public speaking
Major of London

Whether he can stretch them to PM at a time of constitutional crisis remains to be see. I doubt it very much unfortunately. I hope I am wrong.

BJ is PM at last

The Art of Ai-Da Robot

I recently went to visit an unusual art exhibition being held temporarily at St John’s College in Oxford. Unusual because this is the first time a robot has been programmed to create art using artificial intelligence (AI). As such it has been billed by the press as a revolutionary moment, when AI can produce art as good as humans.

I was for some reason expecting to see the robot but she was not there ‘in person’. But you could view her on the large screens in the small gallery which explained what was going on and her approach to art. 

The art itself was very ‘modern’ in the sense that it was quite abstract interpretations of landscapes and nature as you can see from the photo below. Ai-Da also creates portrait sketches of subjects in front of her or from photos. There was one on display of Alan Turing but I can’t say I recognised him. It would have been more impressive if she had been present making art or portraits live for all to see.

I wonder how much progress such robots will make in the years to come and if they will make human artists irrelevant?

Quote for the Month

"Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3"

Boris Johnson on voting Conservative. From The Independent. Said in April 2005 during the General Election campaign.

"His graver vice is cowardice, reflected in a willingness to tell any audience, whatever he thinks most likely to please, heedless of the inevitability of its contradiction an hour later."

Sir Max Hastings, former editor of The Daily Telegraph, on his employee, Boris Johnson. The Economist July 27th 2019.

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