techUK Policy Pulse | Your weekly update on digital and tech policy

For those of you who have just made it through your first week #backatwork – congratulations! I hope you all managed to switch off a little over the Christmas period ready to tackle what is shaping up to be an interesting year whichever way you slice it. I will be here bringing you the latest every week but first a recap of all the news you might have missed whilst we were busy devouring mince pies and bingeing on Home Alone.


News

A number of tech leaders were recognised in the New Year’s Honours list this year, congratulations to Microsoft’s UK CEO Cindy Rose, CEO of Code First: Girls – Amali de Alwis, Mustafa Suleyman of Deepmind, Theo Blackwell – London’s first Chief Digital Officer and all the other deserving awardees.

A wonderful initiative that I came across over the Christmas break was that of Avanti Communications and the UK Space Agency. Working together on the iKnowledge project using pioneering satellite technology, 312 schools in rural Tanzania have been provided with access to the internet, transforming education for over 34,000 children. Across the globe we are seeing how tech is being harnessed to create opportunities for everyone.

Today, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) produced guidelines for the use of screens and devices for under-18s based on a review of the evidence published in the BMJ Open medical journal. The College refused to set limits, contrary to calls from some politicians, arguing that there was no evidence of harm and that instead parents should be educated and empowered to make choices about screen use for their own children. You can read our summary and comment here.

Over in Vegas this year’s CES is getting ready to get underway. 5G, folding phones, autonomous vehicles and new smart home devices are all likely to grab attention this year. With over 150,000 attendees expected it is set to be a jampacked few days. 

Finally, and whilst not strictly news, there have been a number of articles detailing trends and predictions for tech in 2019. I am far too sensible to put my name to any of my own predictions but here is a round up of the best reads out there: Graham Smith aka @cyberleagle has blogged about Internet legal developments to look out for in 2019; the BBC has summarised over 200 firms views on 2019 tech trends here; whilst Mark Scott Chief Technology Correspondent at POLITICO makes his policy predictions here.


techUK news and events

Today, techUK publishes a report based on survey research into the opinions of parents in tech asking their views on the future of work and whether the education system today was adequately preparing children for it. The report – Preparing for Change: How tech parents view education and the future of work, shows that whilst parents are overwhelmingly positive about the future of work and the jobs available, they do worry that today’s education system needs to be rebalanced to nurture ‘soft-skills’ and much more needs to be done to provide good careers advice to students. techUK makes a number of recommendations both for industry and policymakers to ensure the UK and its people are best placed to harness the opportunities of the future.

If your organisation is a member of techUK but you feel you’re not making the most of your membership then why not make a change in 2019. To help, we are hosting an Introductory Evening on the 17 January where you can find out how to make the most of membership. If your organisation hasn’t joined yet why not come along and find out exactly what techUK membership can do for you. 

Finally, on 22 January techUK is bringing together public and private sector, policy makers, decision makers and innovators to forge an understanding of just what might be involved in making the national digital twin a reality. You can explore the full agenda and register here.

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