The Operational Research Society’s Annual Blackett Memorial Lecture was established in honour of Lord Patrick Blackett – a physicist, Nobel prizewinner and pioneer of operational research (OR) who advocated for scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics during the Second World War.
The 2018 lecture was given by Sir Alan Wilson FRS FAcSS FBA, who presented it in three stages: first, a review of the current positioning of OR in an age that is being transformed by increasing computing power, the ‘big data’ revolution and AI; secondly, addressing the non-trivial questions 'what is AI?' and 'what is it good at?'; and thirdly, exploring the future of OR in the age of AI.
Sir Alan is Director of Special Projects at the Alan Turing Institute and Executive Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute.