The Future of AI: how can the technology be developed as a force for good?
The development of AI has ramped up in recent months, with the likes of ChatGPT and deep learning tools dominating headlines as tech firms race to build their own tools and compete in this rapidly growing space.
The sudden leap forward has also been met with concern, with many calling for responsible regulation to help address the speed at which the technology is evolving. Meanwhile, prominent figures like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Emma Bluemke from the Centre for the Governance of AI at Oxford University have called for a six-month pause on training AI systems.
To discuss the future of AI and what steps can be taken to ensure it develops in a way that is responsible and supports human flourishing, National Technology News was joined by Shannon Vallor, co-director of the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council's BRAID (Bridging Responsible AI Divides) Programme and the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) at the University of Edinburgh.
The hidden carbon costs of the cloud and what can be done to reduce the data centre footprint
According to the International Energy Agency, data centres and data transmission networks around the world contributed around 300 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 (including embodied emissions).
The agency identifies that emissions since 2010 have only grown modestly despite rapidly growing demand for digital services as a result of energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy purchases by ICT companies and broader decarbonisation of electricity grids.
However, the IEA still notes that emissions must halve from their current state by 2030 to get on track with the net zero scenario. To achieve this, organisations must reduce energy usage by employing more efficient technologies and eliminating any inefficiencies within pre-existing systems.
In this National Technology News podcast, editor Jonathan Easton is joined by Marcus Maddox, global alliances manager at Hitachi Vantara and James Terry, sales specialist, global strategy at Cisco to discuss the hidden carbon costs of the cloud and what organisations can do to reduce the energy consumption of their data centre usage.
Four key things to improve your supply chain in 2023
In an age of rapid digital transformation, businesses are modernising their systems and building omnichannel connectivity to deliver the just-on-time service that customers have come to expect.
Yet many firms are saddled with outdated legacy systems and find their data stuck in siloes. This hinders their ability to optimise fulfilment, obtain predictive insights and see processes in real time. Other firms are struggling with delays in accessing their data or find it unreliable and inconsistent.
To delve further into these challenges and look at how companies can streamline their operations and improve their flexibility, Retail Systems was joined by Mark Holmes, Senior Supply Chain Advisor at InterSystems.
The podcast examined how some of the key things firms can do to improve their supply chain in the coming year.
Top tips for driving digital transformation in your supply chain
Supply chains are battling several disruptions. They are susceptible to labour shortages, the ongoing aftereffects of the pandemic and ongoing political turmoil including the war in Ukraine.
An increasing number of companies are turning to technology to modernise their supply chains and make them more resilient. These companies are seeking a unified view of their data and processes, but not all of them know where to start.
To examine these issues, National Technology News was joined by Ville Parkkinen, director, product marketing at information management company OpenText.
The podcast explores how firms can address key challenges in their supply chains by driving true digital transformation and ensuring compliance with existing and emerging regulations.
AI and responsibility: Who is accountable for AI’s bad decisions
No one particularly wants to be responsible for a bad decision, whether that be a car accident, a misdiagnosis, or providing an unaffordable loan.
However, AI adoption means that human and machine decision making are becoming increasingly bound up together. Though in some fields like medicine and transport AI is being found to make better decisions than trained experts, it can be very hard to allocate blame when things go wrong.
Earlier this year, new proposals from the UK’s Law Commissions suggested that the person in the driving seat of an automated vehicle would no longer be responsible for how the car drives.
If organisations want to use AI, they will increasingly need to be able to decide who to blame if things go amiss, or at least explain how these decisions work.
To discuss these issues, Will McCurdy, content editor of National Technology News spoke to Maximilian Kiener, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford Faculty of Philosophy Institute for Ethics in AI.
How can companies keep code secure in the cloud?
The onus on companies in almost every industry to roll out new products and services quickly is greater than ever in the digital age. To achieve this, companies are increasingly leaning on cloud services - particularly cloud-native environments - to allow them to scale at rapid pace.
However, scaling IT infrastructure can bring new types of security risks with it. Cybercriminals are looking to take advantage of the larger attack surface cloud infrastructures can offer, looking towards vulnerabilities within APIs, containers, Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), and microservices to disrupt, infiltrate, and exploit organisations.
As a result, many companies are exploring how they can use a DevSecOps approach, leveraging continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), to ensure the security of their cloud infrastructures throughout the development lifecycle.
To discuss these challenges, as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, Content Editor at National Technology News was joined by James Brotsos, product manager at CheckMarx and James Ferguson, Senior Solutions Architect at Amazon AWS.
AI and creativity: What can the past teach us about the future of artificial intelligence?
The accepted relationship between humans and machines used to be a simple, binary one. Robots were considered to have at least some advantages in the field of mathematics and calculation, and humans were considered to reign supreme in the fields of creativity.
However, recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are demonstrating how machines are making significant inroads into creative pursuits that would have once been considered uniquely human.
But this isn’t the first-time people have grappled with the creative potential of machines. In the Age of Enlightenment, increasing mechanization was a major issue, and many seminal writers such as like Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne and E.T.A. Hoffmann attempted to make sense of the problem.
To explore this issue, Will McCurdy, content editor, National Technology News was joined by Dr. Michael Falk of the University of Sydney, previously a senior lecturer in 18th century studies at the University of Kent.
The Golden Hour: Why multi-agency communication is crucial in a crisis
During a major incident, whether it be a fire, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or cyber incident, it’s crucial organisations are able to safely and quickly mobilise their workforces.
Despite a growing body of specialist technology, both public bodies and enterprises are struggling to communicate effectively across their wider organisation during both critical and routine situations.
Meanwhile, organisations must also grapple with the growing influence of social media, which can often serve as a hotbed for red herrings and uncertain information when crises break out. Without a cohesive, multi-agency communication strategy, many organisations are risking slower and less efficient responses to emergencies.
They also miss out on a networked approach to business interaction, where workforces can collaborate, coordinate, and capture information in the field, even during day-to-day operations and duties.
To explore some of these challenges and opportunities, Alexandra Leonards, senior reporter at National Technology News, was joined by Chris Ullah, business relations and solutions manager at BlackBerry.
Data and rights: Can consumers regain power over their own data?
In recent years consumers have become accustomed to the fact that certain firms know more about them than some of their closest family members: where they shop, what type of music they listen to, and what their political opinions are.
They’ve also become accustomed to the fact the that these firms can make billions of dollars from this data, while they themselves derive almost no personal benefit.
However, the tide of public opinion is changing and what once may have seemed innocent a decade ago is drawing intense criticism from across the entire political spectrum.
Consumers and regulators are now backing movements that would give consumers more power over - or even the potential to profit from - their own data.
To discuss these issues, Will McCurdy, content editor of National Technology News spoke to Anne Josephine Flanagan, data policy and governance lead at the World Economic Forum.
How AI is closing the gap between good and great CX
It's almost cliché to say that expectations of customer experience (CX) have risen greatly over the past few years. However, the gap between great CX and merely good CX has increased at a staggering pace. A small pack of companies, who have benefitted from a significant head start, are now racing ahead of the competition - and this stark gap is unlikely to be lost on consumers.
In addition, companies are holding more data than ever since the world moved further online during the pandemic, which larger established firms have leveraged to offer new levels of personalisation and customer service. To compete, firms are exploring how AI can help their agents – who have more choice than ever over how and where they work – to perform better.
To delve further into these challenges as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, Content Editor, National Technology News was joined by Andy Traba, Director of Product Marketing for Customer Engagement Analytics, NICE.
Platform Wars: How is competition between BigTech platforms shaping the world?
It would take over 31.7 thousand years to count to a trillion. So, it is not surprising that it was not too long ago that the concept of a trillion seemed somewhat abstract, or even farfetched.
However, at the time of recording not just one but five companies have a market cap of over one trillion. One key factor which ties all these companies together is the fact they are platforms. Meaning they not only provide products and services but provide an infrastructure for other organisations or businesses to provide them.
And though it may be a personal choice what people read, watch, or listen to, these trillion-dollar companies have a huge influence on what products – and which businesses - ultimately succeed or fail. And this is a fact that is attracting attention and criticism from governments and regulators the world over.
To discuss these issues, Will McCurdy, content editor of National Technology News spoke to Joost Rietveld, assistant professor at University College London.
Humanitarian data: Is data the secret ingredient in crisis situations?
Unfortunately, resources are limited even in times of crisis. Many humanitarian aid budgets have either been slashed or are under pressure from governments the world over, and in the context of post-pandemic austerity demand for funding certainly outstrips supply.
Limited supplies, vaccines, and skilled personnel mean that modern humanitarian responses rely on data to make sure they are allocating scarce resources in exactly the right place, to the people who most need them.
These data-based responses must evolve and adapt in real-time as situations can rapidly shift and evolve practically overnight, not to mention the fact that many of the worst impacted areas are under connected, under mapped, or remote.
To discuss these issues as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, content editor of National Technology News, was joined by Hannah Ker and Alan Mills from geospatial charity MapAction.
Born Digital: How is BigTech moulding Generation Z?
Few people would trust an oil company or a car manufacturer to raise their children, yet a small number of for-profit companies have vast influence over what Generation Z, read, watch, and listen to.
In 2019, the Children’s Society warned that children were the unhappiest they had been for almost twenty-five years, attributing this to excessive social media use, increasing loneliness, and turbulent friendships,
As the world population increases, Generation Z is set to be by far largest generation on record. As such, the decisions which these companies make, and the decisions of those who hold them accountable, will have a profound influence on the futures of millions of children.
To discuss these issues as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, content editor, National Technology News was joined by Robert Wigley, chairman of UK Finance, entrepreneur, and author of Born Digital.
Smarter cities: How can the UK make its cities work better for everyone?
By 2050, its estimated that three-quarters of the world’s population will live in cities.
In China alone, hundreds of millions have emigrated to urban centres since the 70’s, as urbanisation continues almost everywhere across the globe.
In the UK, for better or for worse, since the 90’s more and more of the population and the economy has moved towards its cities.
If predominantly young people continue to flood into urban hotspots after the pandemic the country will be forced to tackle issues from traffic congestion to pollution and social issues.
With so much riding on the future of cities, the drive to make them smarter has been the continued focus of much innovation worldwide.
To discuss the challenges, and the opportunities of making cities smarter, Will McCurdy, Content Editor, National Technology News was joined by Phil Beecher, President and Chief Executive at Wi-SUN Alliance.
Transforming tech: how can UK firms collaborate to improve diversity in the sector?
The technology sector has continued to be earmarked as key part of Britain’s economic growth by successive governments, and as an integral part of Britain’s recovery from Covid-19.
The vice chancellor Rishi Sunak recently announced a £375 million fund that will see the government invest in fast-growing UK tech start-ups.
However, participation in the tech sector is not being distributed evenly. Though close to 50 per cent of Britain’s workforce are women, they occupy only 19 per cent of tech roles according to research by TechNation.
In addition, only 19 per cent of tech workers are from a working-class background compared to 33.3 per cent of the nationwide population.
To delve further into these topics and their root causes, as well as some possible solutions to this dilemma Will McCurdy, Content Editor, National Technology News was joined by Debbie Forster, MBE CEO, Tech Talent Charter.
Bringing Teams to the table – Adding value by integrating Microsoft Teams with business applications
A decade ago, the idea of digital collaboration started and ended with sending documents over email. Some organisations would have portals for sharing content or simplistic IM apps, but the ways that we communicated online were still largely primitive.
Automating CX: How are businesses using AI to meet customer expectations?
Virtual agents are set to supplant the traditional chatbot and their use cases are evolving at pace, with many organisations deploying new AI technologies to meet rising customer demand for self-service and real-time interactions.