Information & Technology

Wake up, algorithms are trawling your phone while you sleep

Wake up, machine learning algorithms have been trawling your phone whilst you slept. If you did. If you had a long sleep your health profile will record positive. Your health data is one signal that will be built into a profile of all your behaviour. It will be used to inform decisions about credit ratings and health provision. Unhealthy […]

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    Thoughts on the future of human knowledge and machine intelligence

Thoughts on the future of human knowledge and machine intelligence

Throughout history, nations and armies have brawled for knowledge. The burning of the Library of Alexandria, the destruction of Xianyang Palace’s archives, the secret investigations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the destruction of the Mayan Codex, and many other examples illustrate the continuous human quest for owning knowledge or eliminating it from an enemy.

Knowledge however, has a peaceable face; […]

For 3D printing to go mainstream, it needs a platform

It is a truth all but universally acknowledged that in our digital age every great technology is in need of a platform to enable it to make the leap from technological renown to mass application. We have all heard of the stories of how sector after sector has been transformed by platforms. Think of telecommunications, media and entertainment and, […]

The regulatory future of algorithms

Automated decisions systems are becoming more and more common. Algorithms are used by banks, employers, schools, police and social care agencies. They might help to run institutions more efficiently, but if badly designed they have the potential to bring about significant harm such as discrimination or social marginalisation. Currently, there are expectations that the EU’s data protection reform (the General Data […]

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    Could the EU’s new data regulation be the catalyst for a more ethical social media?

Could the EU’s new data regulation be the catalyst for a more ethical social media?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect May, 2018. Every firm, irrespective of its physical location, interacting with EU citizens, will need to make changes to oversight, systems and processes to comply with the new rules.

Little known and even less discussed, the GDPR is the most important change in how we are store and process […]

The bitcoin fork: What’s happening

Background

For the past number of years we’ve been hearing a lot about bitcoin – how the technology of a blockchain, coupled with certain restrictions and incentives for various parties, could produce a viable currency, independent of either physical collateral or the authority of a state. In many respects it would seem that bitcoin has been a success. Now when […]

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    The end of net neutrality is not the end of the open internet

The end of net neutrality is not the end of the open internet

Say what you will about the merits of net neutrality; we are unlikely to reach consensus, much like academics and policy-makers have not reached consensus over the past 15 years ever since the term was put on the policy table. I have explored elsewhere the reasons why I think consensus has been elusive and what to do about it, but suffice […]

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    What to do when your clients’ data is breached: The case of Sony Playstation

What to do when your clients’ data is breached: The case of Sony Playstation

Sony, Adobe, Home Depot, eBay, Blue Cross — what do they all have in common? Not just that they are extremely successful companies but that they have all experienced a major data breach.

Sometime between April 17 and April 19, 2011, a group of hackers gained privileged access to the Sony PlayStation Network (PSN). Within a matter of hours, the […]

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    A complex web of factors influence children’s commercial media literacy

A complex web of factors influence children’s commercial media literacy

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protects children’s personal data online through various measures, many still being debated. But since being approved by the EU Parliament in April 2016, it has emerged that the GDPR was formulated without consulting children or their representatives, including parents, or any evidence about children’s understanding of the commercial uses of personal data online.

Crucially, the GDPR assumes that, until they are 16 (unless member […]

The Internet and the global reach of EU law

The law of the European Union has influenced the development of the Internet outside the EU’s borders. The details of this influence are too complex to go into here, and are set out in my LSE Legal Studies working paper of the same title. But the following examples from just one Internet-related area, namely data protection and privacy law, […]

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    Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don’t like it

Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don’t like it

As revealed in a patent filing, Facebook is interested in using webcams and smartphone cameras to read our emotions, and track expressions and reactions. The idea is that by understanding emotional behaviour, Facebook can show us more of what we react positively to in our Facebook news feeds and less of what we do not – whether that’s friends’ […]

How we interact with robots reveals parts of who we are

Engineers are studying human behaviour in great detail in order to make robots that not only look like us, but can also understand us and interact with us in socially acceptable ways. These studies are teaching us many things about our own human nature, as my recent paper explains.

Building robots

The robots in films like Blade Runner are very humanlike, […]

The exploding popularity of RegTech

Following on from our piece on WealthTech – we look at the rise and rise of RegTech (previously known as regulatory technology.) RegTech is a subclass of FinTech, and concerns the use of technology to create efficiencies in financial services for issues regarding regulatory reporting and compliance.

The graph below shows that, if nothing else, the term has exploded in […]

Seven signs of over-hyped Fintech

In 2015 Dan Davies wrote an excellent guide to Fintech business models (the “Fin”) that provided a very effective tool for looking beyond the hype. The other side of Fintech that the non-technologist (and even many experienced IT professionals) have trouble with is the actual “Tech”.  A great many people in finance have now reached the point where they […]

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    Using big data to transform operations management: Hype, hope or has-been?

Using big data to transform operations management: Hype, hope or has-been?

The impact of technological innovation is a hot topic in the 21st century. Debates around Big Data (BD) and the technology revolution keep trending. Ignoring the scale of the social changes and organisational disruption created by the apparently exponential growth of technology and the information that has become available to individuals and organisations is impossible. Of particular interest to business […]

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    ‘WealthTech’: The challenges facing the wealth management industry

‘WealthTech’: The challenges facing the wealth management industry

Technology is changing society more than ever before. The way we shop, socialise and communicate have all changed radically over our lifetimes. The financial services industry is in many ways behind the curve, with many product lines unchanged in decades. We are likely to enter an online and digital age and many firms are yet to adapt to the […]

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    Nico Sell: ‘Stop giving away all your information for free on Facebook’

Nico Sell: ‘Stop giving away all your information for free on Facebook’

Nico Sell is part of a rare breed of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who don’t practice ‘tech evangelism’. The co-founder of the encrypted messaging app Wickr and the Wickr Foundation is a fierce critic of current business models based on mining consumers’ private information. In 2015 she wrote an open letter to the UK’s then Prime Minister, David Cameron, complaining about […]

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    Sasha Hoffman: ‘Autonomous cars are just one piece of a much larger equation’

Sasha Hoffman: ‘Autonomous cars are just one piece of a much larger equation’

Piaggio Fast Forward is the autonomous vehicle arm of the Piaggio Group, creator of the iconic Italian Vespa motorcycle. Even though PFF dreams of one day helping to move people, its focus now is on helping carry heavy packages for short distances, such as grocery bags from the store around the corner to your doorstep. ‘Autonomous cars are just […]

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    ‘Ledger Nirvana’ in trade processing either doesn’t exist or is aeons away

‘Ledger Nirvana’ in trade processing either doesn’t exist or is aeons away

One of the areas frequently mentioned as ripe for improvement by applications of the broad group of technologies known as blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), is capital markets. In the “ledger nirvana” of many blockchain proponents, market counterparties use consistent sets of trade data. They also use smart contracts, computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation […]

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    Marc DaCosta: “Define your problem, then look at the data, not the other way around”

Marc DaCosta: “Define your problem, then look at the data, not the other way around”

As co-founder and Chairman of Enigma, a firm specialising in collecting, integrating and analysing data, Marc DaCosta is not your typical technology entrepreneur. He began his career as an intellectual property strategy consultant to technology companies, but maintained close ties to academia, receiving a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California. Mark is also a fellow at […]