The Ghost In The Labyrinth

Part 1 – The Start-up

Cambridge in the 1980s was the Wild West of British High Technology with companies such as Acorn and Sinclair democratising technology by making computing affordable to a generation which want do computing rather than have it done to them by IBM and ICL. It was also a time when it was still possible to start a high-tech company with little more than an idea and an unemployment cheque

Part 2 – The BBC Presents

Still far from maturity, the microcomputer market was dominated by a host of devices of varying standards and quality – with the odd ones that tended to explode. IBM’s decision to delay the launch of its PC in Europe provided UK manufacturers such as ACT with a window of opportunity as the market moved from 8 bit to 16 bit computing. Peripheral manufactures were also given a breathing space before PC compatible devices arrived from the US. Hair raising, quite literally, and then there was that ‘Making the Most of the Micro' program which provided a boost for Acorn and its BBC Model B

Part 3 – Europe, The US, Video in Windows and Transputers

Freezing at CeBIT but then basking in the glow of a European distributor network. The founding of Digithurst GmbH and the first video in Windows technology developed for Reuters. Saying ‘no’ to IBM and developing a range of Transputer based image processing

Part 4 – The Cold War and Hot Technology

Walls and virtual spaces, experiments in transcendence while on the threshold of the network age and a market opens up for multimedia technology. Selling technology within the Soviet Bloc. Browser software replaces image databases. The company designs it first custom chip and enters the point of sale market

Part 5 – All the News That’s Fit to Digitize

In 1990 an EU project provides a platform for Britain’s first online newspaper and chatroom technology with simultaneous language translation, simulated face to face communication and an AI powered browser. And some of the first examples of trolling

Part 6 – Back to The Virtual Future

The Virtual Futures Conference in Warwick in 1995 was a turning point in the evolution of networks as the Internet gained popularity and ceased to be a virtual playground and laboratory for utopians and changed the way we perceived the world around us and our sense of ‘self’

Part 7 – Ghosts and Faces in The Crowd

A Ghost on the Angermünde Road and the implications of the next generation of face recognition software