“My next lawyer will be a cat” These and other future forecasts by Jon Crowcroft

The Roaring Twenties

As CogX 2021 festival approaches, we asked some of the CogX community to tell us what they think the most important issues are to get right in the next 10 years. Here, Turing fellow and Marconi Professor of Communications Systems at the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University, Jon Crowcroft shares his highlights.


Share something that our audience would be surprised to learn about you

I learned the violin from the age of 4, and programmed a PDP-8 in binary on paper tape in 1968. I forgot about both of these things until fairly recently.

What do you think is the greatest challenge we face in the next ten years? 

Reversing the massive loss of diversity in the ecosystem.

Have you found any silver linings from the pandemic?

Computer Science delivered stuff people took for granted, like zoom, secure online shopping, visualisation of epidemiology, drug design, endless entertainment in the form of music, games, movies, tv series, available almost everywhere. Some of those things took massive infrastructure, which also “just worked”, like the internet, the cloud, GPS and logistics systems, machine learning at scale, etc etc

What innovations are you most excited about?

My next lawyer will be a cat.

What do you think is going to change most over the next ten years? 

We can use smart systems to replace most of the government’s inept fumbling.

A prediction? 

The commoditization of mRNA based treatments, so personalised medicine will not just be Sci Fi or very expensive…

What is the most critical discussion we need to have that we are not having?

How do we get people to understand and trust automated systems?

What do you think will be the biggest growth market in the next ten years?

Trustworthy and interpretable AI

What job would you advise a young person to get into now?

Biomedical computing tech


To hear more from Jon Crowcroft, revisit our CogX talk from 2019 where the panel looks at the need for balance in regards to privacy and security


Jon Crowcroft has been the Marconi Professor of Communications Systems in the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University since October 2001. He has worked in the area of Internet support for multimedia communications for over 30 years. Three main topics of interest have been scalable multicast routing, practical approaches to traffic management, and the design of deployable end-to-end protocols. Current active research areas are Opportunistic Communications, Social Networks, Privacy Preserving Analytics, and techniques and algorithms to scale infrastructure-free mobile systems. He leans towards a “build and learn” paradigm for research. Since 2016, he has been Programme Chair at the Turing, the UK’s national Data Science and AI Institute.

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