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A small confession

It is no secret that every business begins with the production of some sort of business plan.

The originators of the business need to work one out for their own purposes – to research the product or service they are intending to provide; to estimate the costs of bringing their concept to market; to analyse the market at which it is to be aimed; to assess the likely competition and indeed “the costs of mounting a challenge” to their idea [not least because, however good it is, if the likely opposition is – for example – a global organisation – they may be able to bring to bear an unlimited budget to squash the threat at birth by emulating it]; and, of course, to be able to show banks and/or other prospective “angel” investors that they know what they are doing and/or – at a simple, basic, accounting level – they are being realistic about the challenges they might face.

My deceased parent – formerly an accountant in a leading firm – once described to me the simple ‘rule of thumb’ approach that he applied to every business plan for the launch of a new product he received from a client, however great or small, for him to review or comment upon.

The first two things he did were to systematically (1) half the turnover/sales predictions; and (2) double the projected costs that had been provided for the period running up to the launch of the product and the first three years thereafter.

When this great organ first hit the internet nearly a decade ago now, part of our business plan – a product of a late night “blue sky thinking” session by the board of directors – was that we would go into partnership with a world leader in artificial intelligence (“AI”) based somewhere in the Far East in order to investigate and possibly develop a robot that might one day do the job of a roving reporter.

At the time this project was, of course, “a leap into the unknown” but it had potentially far-reaching implications for the future of news-gathering and dissemination, exploration of what the internet could be used for and how, and (ultimately) how in the medium to long term the costs of running a business enterprise such as ours could be minimised or even eliminated.

For obvious reasons of business confidentiality, I cannot here reveal exactly how things have progressed with the project I am referring to, save perhaps to say that we are very pleased with the results that have been obtained.

Nevertheless, we were always aware that – one day, somewhere, somehow – it was possible, if not likely, that work on our project (or indeed a similar one) would become public knowledge.

Dear Readers, as I was traversing the internet universe overnight in search of items of interest, last night I came across a report by Tanith Carey that appears today upon the website of the Daily Mail.

I feel that is my duty as editor of this organ to reveal to you today that Gerald Ingolby – one of our regular contributors on matters relating to mounting a fitness campaign  at a “senor citizen’s stage of life” and observations generally upon life as it is lived in the 21st Century – is not a real person, but in fact a robot containing The Rust‘s latest version of it own highly-sophisticated AI software capacity.

See here for more on this subject, courtesy of the DAILY MAIL



About Miles Piper

After university, Miles Piper began his career on a local newspaper in Wolverhampton and has since worked for a number of national newspapers and magazines. He has also worked as a guest presenter on Classic FM. He was a founder-member of the National Rust board. More Posts

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