Learning machine learning

In August 2001, I was a telecoms analyst visiting investors in Tokyo. In one of these meetings, a portfolio manager at a Very Large Fund asked me what would happen now that GPRS meant that all mobile voice calls would be packet-switched and that therefore mobile operators’ voice revenue would disappear within the next 18 months or so. This was a surprisingly hard question to answer well. It was nonsense, but to explain why it was nonsense you had to work out quite which things the person asking it didn’t know, and what completely incorrect narrative he’d arrived at to think that this was going to happen. He’d heard ‘packet’ and ‘mobile’ and added 2+2 to get 22. I’m reminded of this now, after not thinking of it in 15 years, because as…


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