Published: 21 January 2020

Google Technical Director gives talk to MSc students

An inspiring talk by John Abel, Technical Director in Google’s CTO office, was an opportunity for MSc students to consider how AI and data science are influencing every moment of our lives.

John Abel Google talk

The talk, which took place on 18 December, was attended by MSc Data Science students and others in their final year of computer science and electrical and electronic engineering MSc courses.

Drawing on over 30 years’ experience in the tech industry, John Abel talked to students about the impact of new technologies to business innovation – from the early AI deployed in private and public sectors all the way through to planet-data applications. The common theme which emerged was the need to continuously learn and innovate.

Vikas Unnikkannan, a student on the Data Science MSc, said: “John not only touched on the latest technological trends but also on philosophical ways to approach problems, like how self-reflection can lead to out of the box thinking. He talked about how start-ups can thrive and ways to compete for investment with tech giants, as well as mentioning some examples of billion-dollar ideas initiated at Google.”

Dr Sotiris Moschoyiannis, Senior Lecturer in Complex Systems, commented: “It was fascinating for our students to follow John along his journey with technology in large high-tech companies such as Google and to hear that the jobs they might be doing a in a few years do not exist now! The talk provided great food for thought for our Data Science and final year students, and John commented highly afterwards on the quality of the questions they posed.”

During his career, John has focused on business innovations, blending new technologies such as AI, machine learning, Blockchain, and Internet of Things with existing deployed systems to help ideas not only become reality but also commercially relevant.


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