Historically it’s been the accepted way of measuring greatness. A batsman with an average over 50 is seen as having had a great Test career, and similarly with bowling - a bowler with an average below 25 is seen as a great. Obviously there is the volume of runs and wickets too. Sachin Tendulkar’s run record is a case in point. People are looking to see if Alastair Cook can match and beat that before he retires.
In this day and age an average shouldn’t be taken in isolation. There are other factors to look at and it’s something we debate in the commentary boxes. There’s a school of thought that you could take a player’s average over the best phase of their career to be able to compare them more accurately with other players at the peak of their careers.
There is another school of thought that says in limited overs cricket we should combine average with strike rate, so multiply a batsman’s average by the number of runs he scored per ball (strike rate divided by 100) and use that more as an indication.
"A batsman’s average is not the first thing I would look at when it comes to Twenty20 cricket"
It’s difficult of course to compare averages and stats for players across different eras. The game has evolved. And it’s different for the newer formats of the game. A batsman’s average is not the first thing I would look at when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. Strike rate is much more important in a Twenty20 match than an average.
What isn’t factored in though is some kind of index as to the importance or significance of the runs, or the quality of the opposition. Is a double hundred scored against Bangladesh when they first came into Test cricket the same as a century scored at the WACA in the face of quick, hostile bowling by Australia’s best. Context of the runs scored isn’t something that is recorded. So you could say that all the stats are flawed in a way because there is no way of measuring the worth of those numbers.
"For a sport that is so stat-heavy some of the stats we use to measure greatness have just stayed the same over time"
For a sport that is so stat-heavy - and we relish those stats in cricket - some of the stats we use to measure greatness have just stayed the same over time. So many aspects of the game have developed and yet the official stats we use and what is recorded in matches hasn’t really changed. Should fielding stats be commonly recorded and published for example? I believe yes. Dropped catches… how damaging was that drop to the team? And how good was the hundred if he offered 6 chances along the way? A batsman’s innings could an index factor, like a weighting that somehow determines the value of the innings.
For bowling figures, there’s an app called CricViz which brought in a thing called ‘weighted wicket probability’, whereby through ball tracking, they come up with a value for each delivery based on how much the ball is moving, the line, length, pace and so on. Then they compare each delivery with the runs and wickets that resulted from similar deliveries in their database and give the ball a value to measure how threatening a delivery it was.
So people are beavering away behind the scenes and coming up with ideas but nothing has been adopted by the mainstream yet. So that is an area of the game where it could still advance more - giving a more accurate reading, an index, to the value of the runs scored and wickets taken. That would be an exciting way for the game to move forward.
From 25 May 2018, the Data Protection Act – which we currently abide by, and which gives fines of about £500,000 for data breaches – is going to be updated with the EU General Protection Regulation laws. This will affect every tech business or company that processes EU residents’ personally identifiable information.
These new regulations change the amount that you can be fined, to 4% of annual global turnover – that’s turnover, not profit – or €20m whichever is greater.
The big data security breaches of the last 10 years or so have been at the likes of Sony Playstation, Yahoo, eBay, Dropbox, Evernote, Lastfm, Apple, Target, British Airways, T Mobile, AT&T, Vodaphone, Gap, Carphone Warehouse, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Citigroup, Hewlett Packard, TalkTalk… the list goes on and on. Now imagine that 4% of annual global turnover will be the fine for those kind of breaches as of 25 May 2018.
It’s a titan killer… I can’t imagine a company that it wouldn’t take down, or at least severely impinge on their ability to operate profitably.
That’s a titan killer. It doesn’t discriminate against industries, whether it’s technology, banking, healthcare, insurance, telecoms, retail. It’s every business involved in storing EU citizen’s personal data. I can’t imagine a company that it wouldn’t take down, or at least severely impinge on their ability to operate profitably.
We’re going to see a lot of seismic changes in the tech industry as companies suffer the fines, but also as tech companies change their business models to be able to weather that kind of fine. At the moment we get a lot of stuff free. But if you can imagine that you’ve got to protect against the potential of those kinds of fines, then business models are going to have to change.
As well as being a titan killer, it’s going to be a major barrier to enter the market for a lot of innovative startups. Four per cent of annual global turnover or €20m – who’s going to put that kind of money on the line to launch an app? It’s going to take a lot of guts and gumption to actually get started.
This year so far, we’ve had data breaches at LinkedIn, ADP the payroll giant, Seagate, Verizon – these are all big companies. But there are countless small companies who’ve had data breaches. The Identity Theft Resource Centre says that there have been 522 breaches already this year as of the middle of July in the US alone.
The other big problem that we’ve got is that we cannot fill the jobs that we have at the moment in cyber security. Currently, according to a report by Cisco, there’s an estimated one million openings that are unfilled globally. That number is expected to grow by half a million by 2019. The cyber security market is expected to grow from $75bn from 2015 to $170bn by 2020.
So we’ve got a massive skills gap globally in cyber security and that’s only going to grow and grow with the need to protect against these new regulation laws. The criminals get cleverer and faster and the fines are just getting heavier and heavier.
The positive is that for young people who are interested in technology, this is a really big opportunity. You’ll get snapped up out of university, and when you’re at the top of your field in cyber security, you can command a six-figure salary. And it’s something you can do from a computer at home, so it’s brilliant for women who would otherwise have a career break to start a family.
It could be an industry that allows us to keep punching above our weight when we are divorced from the EU. And we’re already geared up for it – we’re one of the world leaders in fintech development, which is already very cyber security conscious as you’re dealing with people’s money.
Britain will still be trading with people in the EU after Brexit. If you’ve got EU citizens on your database, wherever you are in the world, you come under these laws. Brexit or not, it’s still going to stuff you. So unless we’re truly going to become an island, sever all the cables, sever all the connections and make a UK-only internet, we’re going to have to abide by these laws. And that's going to mean massive, massive change.
Kate Russell’s new science fiction novel is Elite: Mostly Harmless.
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement maps out a new direction for post-Brexit Britain, with an emphasis on investment in infrastructure, housing, and boosting the UK’s productivity in a step away from the austerity-focused policies of his predecessor. Of particular note to businesses is the Chancellor’s commitment to supporting UK tech start-ups and preventing them from being absorbed by much larger companies, with £1bn of new funds being made available . This will be welcome news as it not only ensures the long-term survival of many fast growing start-up firms but it also ensures the UK’s status as a nurturing environment and hub for tech entrepreneurs.
As predicted by many, Hammond’s economic growth forecast for 2017 saw a reduction to 1.4% from the 2.2% predicted in March. Even so, the pound rose slightly during the announcement, with high value investments such as funding local growth in the north and midlands, as well as funds for innovation and productivity, striking a positive note with the markets. However this optimism did not last long, as the uncertainty that still remains over the future of the UK’s economy due to Brexit still appears too great for the pound to escape. Analysts will likely be watching closely over the coming months to see whether or not the measures contained with the Autumn Statement will have the desired boost to sterling and the UK.
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There is most certainly a general drift towards being conservative with a small "c" as a person gets older, hence valuing tradition, continuity and stability more than change, revolution and innovation. I would point to a number of possible drivers of this. Firstly, as a person ages, they become more personally invested in the status quo, and hence with preserving it. Secondly, there is less life left with increasing age, so the future becomes less interesting than the past, and with more attention focused on the past there is more value attached to preserving it. The ‘overthrow the evil system’ narrative that is endemic to hard left ideology is thus typically far less attractive to older people who are quite attached to how things are, and enjoy the stability and safety that it brings them. Finally, cognitive flexibility decreases with age, and with that I believe that there is an increasing preference for political views and values that are clear-cut, proven and lacking ambiguity. Conservatism and conservative values bring just that.
VR is widely adopted already in many areas, including manufacturing, automotive and aerospace, for simulations, assembly and prototyping. Instead of building multiple actual prototypes, which requires a lot of time and material, the manufacturers fine-tune their products in virtual reality. That not only speeds up the development by up to 50 per cent and cuts cost but evidence exists that the resulting products are also less prone to defects.
Computer games make widespread use of VR too. Meanwhile medical exploration and surgery is also successfully adopting VR elements such as S3D visualisation, and it plans to start using more haptic technology as well.
At the University of Hertfordshire, we have developed a 3D endoscope that captures three-dimensional imagery of the patient’s insides. There is quite a bit of evidence that 3D visualisation provides surgeons with better awareness of the space in which they are operating, which in turn results in better accuracy and less unwanted damage.
What could happen in the near future depends on the success of VR being adopted by the consumer market, e.g. to remotely observe landscapes and cities as well as buildings, houses and merchandises, bringing e-shopping, e-tourism and house e-viewing experience to a new level.
For example, when you are looking to buy or rent a new house or flat, today you always have to travel to the area and arrange the viewing. But in future, you would only go to see the really best candidates because you would be able to rule out the not suitable properties either from the comfort of your home or the real estate agent’s office through a virtual reality tour.
Similarly, when deciding on your next holiday destination, you wouldn’t just look at photos, you would get a taster experience through a virtual reality headset.
3D viewing will enable an operator to remotely ‘visit’ a dangerous place, for example a broken nuclear reactor, using a virtual reality headset and a ruggedized robot.
In fact, at the University of Hertfordshire, we have developed technology that does exactly that using a commercially available smartphone and a Google Cardboard-like headset. Everyone who has ever tried our technology was quite impressed. The users get a three-dimensional 360 degree view of, for example, a beach in Sicily. They can look up and down, turn around and it feels perfectly realistic. Add haptic experience, sound and the sense of smell to it and you get a perfect illusion.
Travel agencies could use this technology to show hotels or let the customers experience some of the highlights of the destination such as significant cultural or historical sites.
Virtual reality, or 3D viewing, will also play an important role in the field of robotics where an operator would be able to remotely ‘visit’ a dangerous place, for example a broken nuclear reactor from the comfort of a control centre via a virtual reality headset and a ruggedized robot capturing and transmitting the 3D imagery.