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‘Embrace technology for a better Wales’

5 November 2018

Data innovation

Digital technologies can help create a Wales we all want to live in, says a leading academic who chairs the Wales review of digital innovation.

Launching a public call for evidence, Cardiff University’s Phillip Brown believes the coming technological revolution will not just be felt from an economic perspective.

“If you read the scare stories we could all be left thinking robots are coming for our jobs. The reality is likely to be somewhat different. Despite the challenges, there are some clear opportunities for Wales to use technology to enhance the way we live and work,” said the Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Social Sciences.

Professor Brown’s expert panel is examining how advances in automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and large-scale data will affect the Welsh economy in years to come.

I believe this recombination of technology and people will be fundamental to Wales’ future and that, with the right approach, we can use technology to create a Wales that we all want to live in, now and in the future. But it will also have a bearing on the future social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.

Professor Phillip Brown Distinguished Research Professor

The Review of Digital Innovation for the Economy and the Future of Work in Wales has launched a public online survey to help understand how people perceive the impact of digital innovation and the challenges and opportunities facing Wales.

“I am keen that the review is able to hold the widest possible conversation with a range of stakeholders, not just those at the forefront of technology development,” said Professor Brown. “This Call for Evidence is very much the start of that conversation.”

Other leading digital stakeholders agree.

Ian Jones, co-founder of AMPLYFI, said: “The growth in open-source content available on the internet allied with technologies that increasingly enable us to unlock it are starting to transform how we can think about the future of work. Governments can now design and implement economic plans, support initiatives to develop the future skills and capabilities that will be required, and benchmark and monitor global progress in a way that was not previously possible.”

Peter Sueref, Data Science Director, Centrica, added: “There’s no clear forecast of what the future of work actually looks like but we know digital transformation will affect it.

“There are lots of different moving parts we need to consider: policy, public sector, business, education, infrastructure but most importantly the people of Wales. We can understand and shape the future impact of new technology by outlining a path that works for all of Wales. Let’s grow as a nation and really set out our narrative around what it means to be Welsh in the digital future.”

Phil Brown will be working with his Expert Panel to review the responses received and plan the next steps to engage the people, businesses and communities in Wales.

The Review of Digital Innovation for the Economy and the Future of Work in Wales was announced in March 2018. The review aims to gather further insight on the challenges and opportunities associated with digital innovation in the context of the Welsh economy and the future of work.

An interim report will be published by the end of November 2018, with final recommendations to follow by March 2019.

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