Dr Andrew Rogoyski

Dr Andrew Rogoyski is Innovation and Partnership Director of the AI Institute at the University of Surrey. He has experienced several winters where interest in AI has nearly evaporated but is excited to now be in a summer of interest as big tech pours fortunes into development, some fruitful and some futile. 

In March 2023 he tried to co-sign the letter from 1,000 people calling for the suspension of development in the AI tool ChatGPT but couldn’t as the server crashed. Among those who did manage the sign the letter were Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak.

Sir Julian Young

A delight in taking apart and rebuilding his bicycle highlighted Sir Julian Young’s bent for engineering at an early age. “An engineer is someone who is perpetually restless and never content with how things are,” he says. “You are always wanting to do better.”

Would-be engineers also need to be competent at numbers, score good marks in science, and be prepared to keep up-to-date with technology. But as an engineer you have “a job with opportunities for life,” Sir Julian says.  It has certainly proved that way for him. Money was tight when he wanted to study aircraft engineering at university, so he applied for and won sponsorship with the RAF.

Since then, he has enjoyed a 40-year career as an aircraft engineer with the RAF. His experience spans a huge range of aircraft and technology, from the Mk1 Chinook and 1980s’ bombs dropped by gravity used to damage Port Stanley airfield in the Falkland Islands to today’s leading-edge F-35 fighter jet, with its robotics, smart weapons and AI.  Most recently, he was Director General Air within the Defence Equipment & Support organisation in the Ministry of Defence and the RAF’s Chief Engineer.

Sir Julian is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Governor of Bath College and a Trustee of the RAF Charitable Trust. He was awarded a KBE in 2020, a CB in 2013 and an OBE in 2000.  In 2021, he became the 140th President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. His ambition while in post is to push as hard as possible on addressing the challenges of sustainability and climate change.

Geoff Squire OBE

Geoff Squire OBE spent 50 years in the UK IT industry, from machine code to $Bn companies.  Geoff learnt arithmetic and the value of pounds, shillings and pence at an early age doing sums upside down over his father’s shoulder.  University was never an option but interest in numbers led on to jobs in programming and thence to growing roles in ICL.

He is perhaps most famous for establishing Oracle in the UK with an opportunistic pitch to Larry Ellison.  Subsequently Geoff led Veritas to a Y2K $75Bn market cap.  In recent years Geoff has focused, with his wife Fiona, on their grant giving charity and he serves as Chairman of Give as You Live Ltd, a technology company dedicated to raising money for UK charities.

Colin Knight

Colin Knight learned the value of failsafe technology early in his career, developing algorithms for the release of munitions from RAF “V Bombers”. This focus on non-stop reliability has remained his priority through a wide-ranging career spanning financial trading in the City post Big Bang, the revolution in mobile communications, predictive modelling of networks and risk management. Colin has worked extensively across Europe, Asia Pacific and the US, including a spell in Moscow during the height of the Cold War. Given his time again, he says he would favour roles at US-based companies because they are more innovative, entrepreneurial and financially rewarding.

Colin is a past Master of the Information Technologists Livery Company. But his proudest achievement has been his charitable activities deploying IT to improve the lives of sick and disabled children and their families. Work must be fun, he insists — you will never get a successful team with unhappy members.