I'm joining UCL as visiting professor

I have a bit of news to share - I’ve been appointed Visiting Professor (!) at UCL working with the wonderful Mariana Mazzucato at the department she founded, The Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP).

I first came across Mariana back in 2015 when I read her book, The Entrepreneurial State. In it she examines how states have actively shaped technology markets by declaring ambitious missions (for example putting a man on the moon) and making visionary and significant investments in basic scientific research. It made my best books of the year list and the data and arguments she presented fundamentally shifted my worldview.

After I wrote my essay on AI Nationalism last year, I bumped into Mariana at an event and we hit it off. She is a formidable intellectual sparring partner and hugely fun to spend time with - she engages in serious issues without taking herself seriously. I greatly admire the way she has collaborated with politicians across the ideological spectrum (from David Willetts to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!) and is influencing policy in many different areas from pharma to the Green New Deal. I believe her UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) will significantly influence the most ambitious policy makers in the years to come.

I’m also excited to spend more time within the UCL world - UCL has played an important role in recent developments in machine learning - two of the co-founders of DeepMind - Demis and Shane met while studying at UCL’s Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit.

Finally I’m looking forward to learning from the great group Mariana has assembled at her institute including people like Mike Bracken who lead the digitisation of UK government services at GDS, Carlota Perez who wrote a seminal book on technological revolutions that has greatly influenced investors like Fred Wilson and Josh Ryan-Collins who wrote a phenomenal book on the economics and housing.

I’m going to be using IIPP as my new base to work on the political and economic implications of machine learning. This will be a part-time thing and I’ll continue investing in start-ups and tracking the latest machine learning research with the rest of my time.