LIVE FROM 5G WORLD 2018, LONDON: Matt Hancock, UK secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (pictured), believes technology itself holds the key to solving many of the ethical and societal concerns raised by digitisation.
Speaking this morning (13 June), he described as “mission critical” the need to use technology to effectively self-police itself and address “some of the problems that technology itself has surfaced”.
Hancock discussed the challenge of balancing the benefits technology brings with protecting the public: “One of my biggest communications problems as the digital secretary is that we have [to] both mitigate the harms on social media and the challenges, as well as at the same time being incredibly enthusiastic about the future of tech and the power of tech for good. And this is a harder message than a few years ago, when we could be unambiguously enthusiastic about tech.”
Discussing artificial intelligence, the minister stated there “isn’t a trade-off between ethical archicture and high levels of innovation.”
Hancock used the event to outline a number of new initiatives designed to place the UK as a front runner in the technology sector. These included additional funding for IoT efforts spearheaded by the government-backed Digital Catapults technology innovation centre and a visa programme designed to bring “business founders” to the UK.
Combined with plans by companies to invest more than £2 billion the measures “will allow innovative British start-ups to invest in…the future of the country by hiring more skilled people, expanding businesses, and exporting expertise around the world,” he explained.
Hancock said availability of visas for technology entrepreneurs was a key issue in his discussions: “We are going to have accelerators and entrepreneurs decide who gets the visa, so if you like it will be something akin to a dragon’s den for visas”.
The politician said now is “a moment to take stock and to ask what must we do to ensure we are at the leading edge in the future”. He said UK venture capital in 2017 exceeded Germany, France and Sweden combined, and was the third highest after the US and China.
“We know that our role in government is to enable the ecosystem, to provide an environment for enterprise, so that all of you can do the important and interesting work of building businesses and of taking things forward.”