Jericho Conversations

Business Life After The Virus: Disruption

by .

The Renaissance of Ethics?

Here’s the summary of today’s Jericho Conversation on Disruption – with Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; Chair, the Open Data Institute; Mikael Down, Exec. Director, Banking Standards Board; Nikolas Kairinos, Founder,; and Professor Joanna Bryson, Hertie School, Berlin.

Thank you for joining us (if you did), and sorry you missed it (if you didn’t!). It was another great conversation.

“A re-basing of our experiences, our expectations, our way of life …. the COVID crisis allows us to re-appraise our values”

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt

Nigel on current challenges and post-viral optimism

“Are the changes we are seeing through this crisis so different? Has, the last 50 years been so much more accelerated than the 50 before? We are a species that has lived through remarkable moments, right back to when our precursors began to shape the world by shaping tools”.

“As companies grapple with how much information they may need to keep, we find ourselves in the midst of these important moral deliberations. The pandemic is revealing just how complex the data inter-dependencies are when we need to respond effectively”.

“We understand that certain norms around privacy are superseded in times of certain sorts of civil emergency… As companies grapple with how much information they need to keep to ensure health and wellbeing, we really do find ourselves in the midst of these ethical deliberations: individual vs collective good and personal vs wider privacy”.

“The virus is extraordinarily democratic and it doesn’t respect political manifestos”.

Mikael on regulation as the soft infrastructure of innovation

“It’s the nature of the beast that innovation will run ahead of our ability to understand the implications. But the ends must not be used to justify the means in an unquestionable way”.

“Regulation must be brought into a context that is favourable to the right sort of outcomes; it must not take on a tick-box approach and we must recognise the limitations of micro-regulation when applied on a macro level”.

“The response to the GFC was internationally coordinated. The response to COVID-19 has been staggeringly fragmented”.

Nikolas on premature regulation

“Facial recognition technology is here to stay and, in this crisis, it is saving lives. The solution from a regulatory and technological standpoint is to develop a cost-benefit analysis”.

“There is a need for data because people are producing applications that add value. If we can supply artificial data to help build these applications, we avoid some of the concerns around protecting people’s personal data”.

“Transparency and explainable AI makes things more difficult and more costly. Will the market want to pay for this?”.

Joanna on why we have been here before

“Data is a liability. Not every business has the capability to protect it properly. There is a real need to partner with governments for international regulation”.

“If AI leads to greater opaqueness, not transparency, that is by conscious choice”.

“Some tech companies are clearly not paying enough to the nations in which they operate. The EU is an example of the creation of a big enough market that has the power to negotiate with these big companies to do the right thing”.

“Regulation doesn’t squash innovation; you can only innovate if you are safe and if you are free”.

“Beware granting large-scale privileges to large-scale
(tech and data) incumbents. Instead, think about Tech Mutuals and Data Co-Operatives”

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt


If you would like to (re-)watch the webinar in full
you can do so here.


#JerichoConversations – The Final Session

Please join us for the final session in the current series – Business Life After the Virus: The Imaginative State. It’s happening on Friday 3 July: 12.30 – 1.45pm (London).

We will be joined by Imandeep Kaur, co-founder of Civic Square; social activist and campaigner; John Thornhill, Innovation Editor, The FT; Katy Taylor, Group Customer & Commercial Director, Go-Ahead Group; and Luke Pollard MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment.

Click here for a long-read by Robert Phillips and Matthew Gwyther which brings together the principal themes from the eleven conversations so far. The Imaginative State is a recognition of the unique moment in which we find ourselves where the state, not capital markets, dominates – and provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity for reform and renewal that should not be squandered. But does government – and indeed business – have the imagination to help us, together, Build Back Better?

All Jericho Conversations to date are available on

Do get in touch if you have thoughts or ideas to share or would like to find out more about Jericho and/ or working with us to help build a better society.

Keep well. Stay safe. Take care.

Matthew, Robert, Becky, Becca, Roxi and Team Jericho
June 26 2020

Sign up to be kept up to date