Like diamonds, few pearls today are found by chance. Unlike diamonds, which can be manufactured on demand in a laboratory, pearls are still grown organically. Literally, they are grown inside of shellfish in response to a deliberately introduced irritant. I would sign off here saying ‘the rest is history’ but as this video shows, the process is actually surprisingly involved and painstaking care has to be taken to ensure a smooth, even, entire pearl is produced every time. It’s truly an expert process.

Interested in witnessing the cutting edge of design technology and its creative uses? The Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) faculty Research Excellence Framework (REF) showcase will be on display at the Institute of Marine Sciences next Thursday, 9 March 2023. They’ve even laid on a free bus to take you there.

Online, no-one knows you are an AI.

Don’t trust anything ChatGPT tells you. It might well find nothing of relevance, panic and start making stuff up. Only, it will give you beautiful quotes, citations and references for the things it made up in a very polished and convincing way. The only snag is that it will all be meaningless or just plain wrong. Today’s AI cannot carry out the critical research required for your assignments (or research papers!) in the way you can. They are tools with a very specific purpose and asking them to do more than they were designed for – asking them to research or write your assignments, for instance – quickly exposes their limitations.

BASIC (Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) remains the simplest programming language, first used at Dartmoor College, New England in 1963, to teach Humanities students and other non-mathematicians to code, and specifically to build a time-sharing programme for mainframe time-sharing. This was back in the day when powerful computers filled a room, and people queued up for time to use it for advanced computational calculations – much as they continue to do today for modern supercomputers, telescopes, and other expensive and rare pieces of shared technology. This interview with one of the lecturers explains where BASIC came from and how the first coding class came about.