Xiaoice: the revolution just happened

7bab4aadae979479720a71bc699b945eIf you had to put one date on the Industrial Revolution, it would probably be 1776. This was the date when James Watt installed his first Atmospheric Steam Engine; an engine that for the first time did more work than the horses required to feed it with coal.

It changed everything. Industrialisation led to huge increases in personal wealth and opened new possibilities for ordinary people that even kings could not previously have aspired to.

James Watt’s engine came the better part of a century after the first steam engine patent had been issued (to Thomas Savery, in 1698), but looking back, we see this was the inflection point.

In the same vein, I nominate 2014 as the date of the computer revolution. Yes, 2014, just three years ago. Why? Because Continue reading