Budget 2017: Robots ARE more important than doctors, nurses and patient care

Those of you are familiar with my commentary will know that I have a penchant for starting digital pub conversations on LinkedIn.

My last one was about Artificial Intelligence and it was my own personal opinion that AI armageddon is what Donald Trump calls FAKE news. Well, I’m not so sure now.

The UK #budget2017 was a proverbial kick in the digital nuts for a number of reasons. But I’m not taking about the headlines: The National Insurance and Dividends assault on the self employed which punishes the hard working digital risk takers OR the nanny state incarceration of the sugar junkies, putting Haribo munching, Cola drinking developers on a par with alcoholics and smokers.

It’s not the headlines we need to worry about. As always the devil is in an innocent one liner tucked away in the Terms and Conditions section. 270 million pounds promised for disruptive technologies!

“£270m for new technologies such as robots and driverless vehicles”
At a time when purse strings are tight, with councils cutting back on services and jobs and with the NHS falling apart at the seams, can we really justify 270 million pounds of taxpayer money to accelerate potentially destructive technology initiatives like robots and driverless vehicles?

There are some really serious governance questions which need to be asked here:

How are robots and driverless cars in the public and taxpayer’s interest?
Who is driving this initiative?
Why is the government subsidising them?
Why is there money for this and not for the NHS and Councils?
Why is the elimination of human jobs an objective of this government?
If ever there was a time for a technologist to step up to become a politician, this is it. The politicians appear to be clueless about the implications of this as well as being irresponsible with our money. Also economics, which has been the language of government for the last 30 years is becoming increasingly tired.

Economics as a discipline has become obsolete and irrelevant due to the technological advancements of the last 25 years. We are still using 200 year old theories as our basis for managing countries! Concepts like GDP, inflation and unemployment are in dire need of an upgrade as they have been made totally irrelevant by the rise of things like e-commerce, online financial instrument trading, social media and market places. Economics is in fact dead….long live Digital Anthropology!

Our forefathers fought wars over much less and we are in danger of letting a bunch of democratically elected dinosaurs hand over our freedoms for less than the market value of Snapchat. We now need technology representation across all areas of responsibility from government to corporate boardrooms to the Bank of England. If we don’t – this world will be taken over by robots. It’s time to wake up people! We need to act NOW to prevent the SkyNet prophecy and Digital Armageddon!