We are living through what has been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which data and automation come together across sectors, disrupting industries in ways not seen before. The Internet of Things, robotics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence, amongst others, are at the forefront of this Fourth Industrial Revolution. Underpinning this is the collection, usage and processing of data in new ways to deliver value. For individuals, for businesses, and for society.
Clearly, therefore, data is a critical part of every organisation’s future, whether that’s making better decisions through insight and analysis, optimising existing business processes through automation or identifying new opportunities using AI and Machine Learning techniques. The most successful organisations in the 2020s will be those who understand, and embrace, this.
But such innovations don’t happen in a vacuum. They need the right context and legal and cultural environment to thrive, and that’s why national strategies are important. After many years where innovation has outstripped legislative progress, Governments recognise they have to create the right framework for businesses, individuals and society. GDPR has helped set the benchmark for legislative approaches around the world to ensure that individuals have legal rights around the information that relates to them, and this is a valuable platform on which to build a national data framework for the future. The UK Government has indicated its desire to be at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with leading approaches around AI Strategy, but this has to be founded upon a fair, balanced and forward-looking data collection, privacy and sharing framework that ensures individuals’ personal details are protected, while enabling innovation.
At Station10, we have been pleased to host a series of roundtables, both virtual and physical, as part of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s request for responses to the “Data: A New Direction” white paper. We have been delighted to act as a convenor of responses as part of this process. I would like to thank all those who have contributed opinions and thoughts as part of this process. We look forward to working with DDCMS and the data industry on the next steps to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution forward in the UK.
David Ellis & Nick Willis