Our tech advances are difficult for productivity stats to compute

One of the most depressing aspects of the decade of the 2010s, well before Covid-19 struck, was the apparently very slow growth in productivity. This is not a mere ivory tower issue.  It is only through increasing productivity that rises in living standards can be sustained. Productivity is the key measure of the efficiency of […]

The government should have been working on multiple tracing apps all along

The NHS contract tracing app has been scrapped in favour of a system developed by Google and Apple. Although health secretary Matt Hancock has been heavily criticised for this failure, the UK is by no means alone. For example, Denmark, Germany and Italy each tried to build their own app, based on the same type […]

It’s not cutting-edge AI we should fear, but mediocre automation

If there were a betting market in future winners of the Nobel prize in economics, MIT’s Daniel Acemoglu would be at pretty short odds. His highly innovative work has already won him a string of prizes. So his research is always worth following – especially when he challenges the conventional wisdom, as in his paper […]

Neo-Luddites won’t like it, but the UK must keep on (driverless) truckin’

The announcement that experiments will take place with driverless lorries on UK motorways ought to be a cause for celebration. Once again, human ingenuity is pushing out the frontiers of technology. But the general reaction in the media has been one of anxiety and concern. Wholly contradictory arguments have been advanced against them. Driverless cars […]

Global cyber-attack: not a new problem

Data Security Breach

Last month, the largest global cyber-attack in history recently infected Windows computers in a network. It utilised a security glitch in the Windows operating system that allowed it to jump from computer to computer on an internal network. Only this week, yet another ransom attack spread across the world.  The WannaCry attack was in terms […]

How to stop tech hubs in urban hotspots from intensifying geographic inequalities

Media City

Perhaps George Osborne’s most abiding legacy from his time as chancellor will be the creation of the concept of the Northern Powerhouse. Certainly Manchester, its principal focus, is booming. The landscape of the centre is being altered dramatically by skyscrapers. Peel Holdings, the huge investment and property outfit, is planning to double the size of […]