Lord Anderson of Ipswich
Member of the EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee
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The lightning speed of the digital revolution in which we are currently engaged is illustrated by the fact that when the 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in February 2004, Roger Federer was already the world’s no. 1 tennis player.
Yet recent rapid transformations of the way we learn, connect and communicate are just a baseline for younger generations who in years to come will reap the benefits of unlimited and instantaneous data transfer in terms of autonomous transport, interconnected appliances, virtual reality, assisted memory and all the applications that human ingenuity – or indeed the ingenuity of artificial intelligence – are yet to devise.
Equally rapid technological progress will be needed if we are to feed an expanding global population and achieve the world’s net zero goals before it is too late. Politics, by contrast, can seem like a frustratingly slow business.
But as parliamentarians we need the technical understanding to create a legal and ethical framework for technological change – whether we are looking at genetic modification, state surveillance (a special interest of mine), discriminatory algorithms, space warfare or controlling the power of the tech giants.
Closer to home, we have to make better use of new technologies to improve parliamentary procedures and citizen participation in lawmaking.
The House of Lords has more time than the Commons for scrutiny and brings a surprising range of talent to the job, from astronomer royal Martin Rees to tech entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.
As a relatively new peer, I look forward to playing my own small part in the years ahead.
Each month we invite a leading member of the UK’s parliament to share their thoughts on technology and innovation in the UK.