This Briefing Note, the first from the WCIT, aims to help clarify the opportunities and risks that come with the launch of new large language model based AI applications such as ChatGPT and Bard. Coming from the WCIT AI4C Group, the note is aimed at other Livery Companies, their supported charities and schools. Please feel free to download and distribute as you wish.
Members of the WCIT (along with a smattering of Livery Masters and Consorts) descended on Surbiton Croquet Club on July 3rd for a croquet ‘taster’ session.
The session was arranged by Liveryman and SCC member Maxine Ricketts, ably assisted by other members of the club. Our hosts not only coached the novices in the finer points of croquet rules and etiquette, but they also ran the bar, served the Pimms, and prepared a lovely three-course meal for us afterwards!
The game itself proved very popular with all participants as it was relatively easy to understand, didn’t require much physical prowess, and encompassed a nice walk across the lawns in good company.
We played the “Golf Croquet” variant of the game which is quicker to play, lends itself to teamwork and socialising, and also allows a fair amount of gamesmanship. We learned some new skills – it isn’t easy, and some of us made it look even less so – and every good shot was rousingly applauded and brought its own sense of achievement. Croquet – along with Livery fellowship – was the only winner!
A huge thank you to Maxine and all her chums for the warm welcome and expert coaching, and for making us all feel at home.
The annual WCIT Golf Day took place at Gerrards Cross Golf Club on 29 June. We were delighted to get a field of 50 players including WCIT members and their guests, and players from six other Livery companies.
The day itself is primarily aimed at fellowship with opportunities to socialise in the clubhouse and over dinner. We also raised over £1,200 for the WCIT Charity through donations of prizes from Freeman Simon Bennett and Liveryman Graham Rivers.
The players were competing for WCIT Golfer of the Year, best team and best individual (non-WCIT). These were won, respectively, by Dave Robertson, team “R2D2” (captain Dave Robertson) and Richard Mumford, a guest of Dave’s and member of “R2D2”. WCIT Golf Captain Peter Cordery has asked Dave not to try so hard next year!
For regular updates on WCIT golf events and opportunities to play, you can subscribe to the golf newsletter at http://eepurl.com/ikjIWb.
A dedicated team of volunteers proudly represented WCIT at the successful London Careers Festival held at the Guildhall on 3rd and 4th July 2023. The festival was attended by enthusiastic Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils from schools across London. According to the schools’ feedback, WCIT was one of the most popular stands!
Thanks to the generous sponsorship from Micro:bit Education Foundation, BBC Micro:bit kits were awarded as prizes to pupils who successfully completed a challenging problem-solving puzzle at the WCIT stand.
Team WCIT consisted of members from the Careers Panel and the Education & Training Committee, including Liveryman Indranil Nath, Freemen Giles Otomewo, Juan Ginzo, Mark Balaam and Ji Li. These delegates emphasized the crucial role of digital skills in future professions, inspiring young attendees to explore the vast opportunities available in the technology field.
Many thanks to Steve Smith, Jon Kidd, the Beadle, and the Clerk for their support in preparing and coordinating this event.
WCIT was proud to have attended the 2023 Enterprise Awards, which were presented at a gala dinner held at Drapers’ Hall on Wednesday 21 June. The awards celebrate the achievement of individual entrepreneurs rather than their companies and in so doing provide role models for future tech business leaders. We were also thrilled to learn that over £6,000 was raised in the raffle held on the night which will go our Charity and specifically to provide Chromebooks to students who lack independent provision for their study. We are delighted with this very generous donation.
Senior Warden Kerri Mansfield JP visited the Royal Signals Apprentice Awards ceremony at Blandford on Thursday 15 June 2023. The WCIT’s Information Technology Apprentice Medallion was presented to Signaller Grace Phoenix.
Signaller Phoenix is a member of the network service desk and the detachment second in command of a NATO deployable mini node, held at five days’ notice to move for the NATO Response Force. It is vital that the node remains online to download updates while being ready for rapid deployment, with Signaller Phoenix also creating and resolving tickets including with the Signal Battalion’s engineers in Germany, and consulting with the NATO Communication Agency at SHAPE.
This junior engineer has already demonstrated high levels of understanding and proficiency across a wide spectrum of activity, and has progressed far more quickly than their peers along the bespoke and technically challenging NATO training pathway. Critically, the knowledge gained from these qualifications – far beyond that expected of a signaller – has been intelligently applied in brilliant problem solving on exercises, including NATO’s annual Priority Zero nuclear deterrent event.
The Squadron Commander summarises Signaller Phoenix as an incredibly capable individual who has already started delivering on a very impressive reserve of potential.
City Livery company promotes the use of technology for good in society
City of London, June 20th, 2023 – The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), in collaboration with City of London University, held a highly successful Hackathon on Thursday, June 15th in London. The event brought together talented sixth form students from Hammersmith Academy and Lillian Baylis secondary schools (both schools are supported by WCIT). The event aimed to tackle the pressing challenges faced by displaced people and to answer the question “how can technology help”. All the participants displayed outstanding creativity and innovation to generate innovative and practical ideas regarding how tech can help those who find themselves displaced.
The Hackathon demonstrated the power of technology to address the needs of displaced people. These are individuals who have been forcibly removed from their homes due to conflict, persecution, natural disasters, or other circumstances. They include refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and those who face precarious living conditions in their home countries.
“We’re delighted to have hosted this inaugural hackathon to generate ideas about how technology can help displaced people” said Rob Wirszycz, Master at WCIT. “It was great to see what talented STEM students can do when they put their minds to it.”
The pupils demonstrated their remarkable talents and dedication by developing a wide array of exciting solutions. They considered how a range of technologies could help, these included AI, biometrics, wearables, alternative communications and personal thermal power sources. Their ideas included streamlined information sharing, language translation, job market integration, mental health support, and cultural exchange platforms.
The distinguished panel of Hackathon judges included Rob Wirszycz, WCIT Master, Nick Santos-Pedro, Digital Manager for the Refugee Council and Professor Sue Black OBE, Computer Scientist, academic, and social entrepreneur.
“The teams all took the Hackathon seriously and worked together to produce a great result. You could tell that all the students who took part really cared about displaced people and were thinking deeply about how technology could help them in their everyday lives” said Nick Santos-Pedro, Digital Manager for The Refugee Council.
The judges unanimously declared the team from Lilian Baylis as the winners. These young bright minds demonstrated exceptional talent and passion for harnessing technology to address the challenges faced by displaced people.
The WCIT thanks the pupils, schools, judges, and all those involved for their outstanding contributions and commitment to this great cause. The Hackathon exemplified the transformative potential of technology to empower displaced people and create a more inclusive society.
WCIT is a member, through our Homelessness Panel of the Digital Poverty Alliance, and contributed to the response from the DPA and the BCS. The link below to a LinkedIn post from Freeman Freddie Quek provides more detail here.
The Master, Rob Wirszycz was quoted in the press release as below:
“ The assumption that we have universal coverage for digitally based access to everyday services is false. While we saw, in the pandemic, an accelerated shift to digital payments, for example, the truth remains that many segments of our society were unable to keep up with the pace of change. These segments include older people as well as those who are economically disadvantaged. It is vital that we do not exclude these people from being able to access essential capabilities such as paying for goods, parking their car, and arranging for changes to their benefits.” Please contact Freddie Quek Freddie.email@example.com for more details.