What are we? What do we want?

It’s been party conference season in the UK. As usual we have the churn and tear of politics and as usual we don’t really have any articulation about how we will deal with anything outside the short and medium term.

The next 20 years will bring a revolution in technology that will create jobs, change the nature of work, put people out of work, raise new moral questions around personal liberty, privacy and the role of the nation state. Yet, we hear nothing about what we want the future to look like beyond the most general of statements about fairness and reduced waiting lists.

What kind of future do want, how do we achieve it? I would contend that we need to take three steps;

We need to start by looking at our values, independent of the technology or our place in the world. Do we we believe the individual has a right to privacy and how far does that right extend? Does the individual have a right to a certain standard of living irrespective of role in society? What are the responsibilities of the state and the individual?

Next we need to understand what is coming in the next 20 years. What will be the possible effects of technology if left unchecked? What is the darkest timeline and what is the most desired timeline?

Finally we need to regulate and legislate based on our values and understanding of what is likely to come. We need to be willing to constantly test and adjust our trajectory based on the realisation of the projected tends, because we will be constantly proved wrong in our assumptions.

In a very short amount of time, the UK will leave the EU. Now seems the perfect time to be defining who and what we want to be as a country. Whether you think we should be leaving the EU or not, now is a time that demands we have vision and hope. Who are we? What do we want?

Political Change but Little Forward thinking

It’s been a big week in politics. Many things have changed and may more are set to change in the next little while. It occurs to me though, that despite all the hand wringing about the economy, no one is really doing any thinking about what the economy will look like in 10 years time.

How do we regulate the gig economy as opposed to legeslating against it to make it fit into a pre-existing employment model?

How do we deal with AI and the effect it will have on the jobs market and the demands the need for employment will then place on the educational system?

What becomes of the role of work in a society with extensive automation?

It occurs to me that we have an opportunity to get ready for a set of inevitable changes. Like climate change we seem to be firmly anchored to the needs of the moment to the detrement of the future.



We Need a Federal UK

Brown is expected to say: “The third option, a patriotic Scottish way and free from the absolutism of the SNP and the do-nothing-ism of the Tories, is now essential because post-Brexit realities make the status quo redundant and require us to break with the past.

I think he’s right. If the UK is to stay the UK, we need to make some changes. Changes that devolve power to the constituent countries and regions. The system we have now would never be designed by a rational mind. It could only evolve. It’s a dead end.