We might not have our own Silicon Valley (although we do have ‘Silicon Fen’ in Cambridgeshire and the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in east London) but that’s not to say that Britain isn’t at the cutting edge of technology. Our expertise and ideas are the best in the world; the main challenge is encouraging UK investors to take a chance on innovative and potentially disruptive technologies.
On 28 June The Spectator hosted a panel discussion at the Science Museum, kindly sponsored by BAE Systems, to look at emerging technologies and the future of British innovation. BAE brought along some of its newest and most exciting innovations, including the Broadsword Spine military vest, which uses a conductive e-textile instead of wires, and the VR-Vantage virtual reality headset that will help British athletes familiarise themselves with course layouts. Some of the day’s highlights are reported here. Ross Clark explains why there are no British Googles, Microsofts or Twitters. Artificial intelligence expert Professor Nick Jennings of Imperial College London tells Laura Freeman why robots aren’t going to take over the world. Mark Davies explains how technology has transformed the gambling industry.
Science is developing at a rate that keeps even the most advanced technophiles on their toes, but British industry has to ensure it stays at the forefront of the latest developments. Our universities are some of the best in the world – Imperial, for instance, has been the birthplace of many a British tech company. There’s no reason why the next big tech company can’t come from the UK. We just need to convince investors to take a punt.