Podcast Archive

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.
Posted: 15/092021

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.
Posted: 16/07/2021

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.
Posted: 09/06/2021

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.
Posted: 05/05/2021

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.
Posted: 21/04/2021
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.
Posted: 18/03/2021