Tech Articles

Big Tech: From Robotics to Regulation

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How to build a healthy
tech-led future

Across the year, Jericho has been hosting a series of roundtables as part of the Ethics of Disruption programme, the second phase of a Big Tech season, curated on behalf of Stifel Europe and CEO Eithne O’Leary. Key issues covered included FinTech, Robotics and New Regulatory Frameworks – exploring where are we today and what comes next.

Do more robots mean fewer jobs? How do we re-skill the nation for a data and tech-accelerated future? What future role for regulation? And do we have ethical frameworks sufficient to deal with inevitable disruption?

Click on any or many of the links below and immerse yourself in a series of cracking articles authored by Jericho’s Matthew Gwyther, rich in insights and ideas.

FinTech: Are we regulating humans or systems?

In the years since the crash of 2007-08, policymakers have concentrated on making finance safer. Regulators have stuffed the banks with capital and turned compliance from a back-office job into a powerful corner-office position but who (or what) should we be regulating and how?

The first roundtable in the current series, held in July, was attended by a mix of tech. experts, academics, commentators and policy-makers and opened with comments from Antony Jenkins, Founder & Executive Chair, 10x Future Technologies. The group discussed the role of trust in Building Back Better with customer-focused Financial Services.

“You cannot argue that tech and data don’t assist with credit decision making. Neither can you say that in defending cash and cheques their supporters aren’t basically Luddites.”

Antony Jenkins, 10x Future Technologies

You can read the full write-up here.

Robots: time for a re-boot?

The second session in the series, held in September, opened with expert comments from Claus Risager, CEO, Blue Ocean Robotics, and Martin Frost, Co-Founder, CMR Surgical.

The robotic sector has proved important during COVID helping keep us safe. But do more robots mean fewer jobs? What role for regulation? And do we have ethical frameworks sufficient to deal with future robotic disruption? Or can ethical agency lie only with people, not machines?

“In an ideal world, robotics are an enabler to support the up-skilling of a workforce… However, one thing that seems clear is that COVID means that many businesses will regard large numbers of employees working in close proximity as a risk factor. People are complex, whereas tech supposedly is not.”

Eithne O’Leary, CEO, Stifel Europe

Click here to read the full write-up.

Not when but how: Big Tech regulation is on the way

The effects of COVID have been hugely to the benefit of Big Tech. Not only have we new kids on the block in the form of Zoom but the existing US behemoths have pressed home advantage. Is this likely to see a more “lenient” approach to regulation as we recognise the benefits brought – or likely to increase the chances of, for example, a digital sales tax? How have the effects of the pandemic changed attitudes towards privacy and the use of data for the common good, specifically in the realm of health? In the world of electoral politics is this a question of regulating machinery, services and systems, or regulating humans? How do regulators deal with Deep Fakes and/ or Russian bots if social media businesses are unable to do so themselves?

The third conversation in the series was held in September and joined by a mix of experts in the field, regulators and policy-makers. Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central and Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Digital, and Simon McDougall, Deputy Commissioner – Regulatory Innovation and Technology – at the Information Commissioner’s Office offered opening reflections.

“People actually trust tech companies more with their data than they do government”

Click here to read the full write-up.

What Next? Facing the “Double-Wicked” Challenge

While the COVID-19 pandemic thunders on, UK businesses now face the added prospect of Brexit in its multiple dimensions. For many, this poses a “double wicked” challenge for growth and wellbeing … touching many critical areas: from employment and taxation to social cohesion and a sustainable (and green) recovery.

Can the UK (and UK business) fight simultaneously on two fronts? How resilient are we – and/ or need to be? As one commentator noted in the context of the Government’s latest ad. campaign, Brexit planning to date has been “scandalously late and woefully light”. So… where do we go from here?

In the months ahead, we will be inviting members of the Stifel community to join us for a series of early evening discussions on important focus areas within the “double-wicked” challenge starting with The Future of Money and How We Spend It building on tech innovation and better policy thinking, how can current circumstances help build social cohesion and democratise money for good?

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.

Meanwhile… keep well. Stay safe. Take care.


Becky Holloway
Programme Director, Jericho Chambers
6th November 2020


In case you missed it…

Investment bank Stifel and Europe CEO Eithne O’Leary have been working with Jericho on the Ahead of the Curves programme, exploring current status and future trends in key industry and service sectors. The first area of enquiry was The Future of the Professions followed by Big Tech, Social Justice and The Ethics of Disruption.

Up next is the “Double-Wicked” Challenge – a committed group of business leaders, academics, experts and policymakers thinking-through imaginative yet practical answers to the challenges posed by COVID and Brexit together.

You are receiving this update because you have taken part or expressed interest in one or more of these initiatives. If you would be interested in joining any of the upcoming events please do get in touch.

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