Government vs
The Robots

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Exploring how technology will affect politics in the future. Like Tomorrow’s World but for Westminster, Washington and wherever people make decisions about what comes next for the human race.

Host Jonathan Tanner has interviewed Presidents and Nobel Prize winners as well as rubber farmers and child refugees. In these conversations he looks for practical steps listeners can take to try and change the world for the better at a time when politicians are struggling to keep up.

Latest episode

Episode 39

About this episode

This week we talk disinformation with Amil Khan, a former Reuters Middle East correspondent and documentary maker. He is now Associate Fellow at Chatham House and works with governments and NGOs on strategies to tackle disinformation. We get into the weeds of how states can plant disinformation in our mainstream media, how groups like IS spread disinformation, and whether Boris' latest bus shenanigans were a cock-up, or conspiracy...


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Episode 38
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In this episode we're taking a look at the psychology of politics and asking whether we've all been triggered, with Alex Evans. Alex is the founder of the Collective Psychology Project, a senior fellow at New York University working on political polarisation, and was previously Campaigns Director at Avaaz.

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Episode 37
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This week we're joined by writer, humanitarian advocate and political analyst Nanjala Nyabola. Her book, Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics explores how the internet era is transforming politics in Kenya. We talk about the country's evolving landscape online, what constitutes digital colonialism, and the impact social media is having on Kenya's feminist movement.

If you enjoy the part on digital identity, we think you'll love another podcast we've been worked on called Inside Good ID, exploring the future of digital identity with a range of global experts. It's part of the Good ID project and is available wherever you listen to podcasts. Do have a listen!

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Episode 36
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This week we're joined by Professor Amy Webb, quantitative futurist, founder of the Future Today Institute and author of Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity. We talk about whether we've reached the beginning of the end of the smartphone era, why China is ahead of the US on AI and how we can try to predict the future of tech.

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Episode 35
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This episode brings you more from SXSW, this time focusing on the future of news, from deepfakes to chatbots and VR. We hear from Hazel Baker, Global Head of User-Generated Content at Reuters; Emily Withrow, Director of the Quartz Bot Studio; and Paul Cheung, Director of Journalism and Technology Innovation at the Knight Foundation.

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Episode 34
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In the first of two episodes recorded at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Jonathan talks all things artificial intelligence with Azeem Azhar, editor of the Exponential View newsletter; Tiffany Li, Resident Fellow at Yale Law School at the Information Society Project; and Meredith Broussard, data journalism professor at NYU.

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Episode 33
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For this episode we headed to the Houses of Parliament to catch up with Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, and Chair of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. The Committee's inquiry into disinformation and 'fake news' investigated the Trump and Brexit campaigns, tech platforms, and who holds responsibility for what ends up online.

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Episode 32
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In this episode we're going back to the some of the big questions at the heart of Government vs the Robots, with Jamie Susskind, barrister and author of Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech. We talk all about the importance of algorithms, how technology is changing the rules we follow, and software engineering turning into ethics.

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Episode 31
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How will the Internet of Things affect our homes, and our politics. We talk to Alexandra Deschamps Sonsino, author, inventor and designer about why Alexa is always listening, even when she's not recording, what sort of data your toothbrush might reveal about you and how smart homes can contribute to dealing with the housing crisis.

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Episode 30
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This week we talk to Labour MP Darren Jones about just how tech-savvy his fellow politicians are, how fully the Houses of Parliament are embracing the digital age and the peril of doing politics by WhatsApp

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Episode 29
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Sky News' Technology Correspondent Rowland Manthorpe joins us to discuss what to expect from 2019 when it comes to technology and politics. We cover Huawei, the evolution of technology journalism, the death of the high street, drone misuse, deepfakes and plenty more as we delve into a very murky crystal ball....

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Episode 28
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We talk to Martin Moore about whether Google and Facebook are set to run our schools, if the triumph of fake news in the west is coincidence or conspiracy and what we might be able to learn about the future of democracy from countries like India and Taiwan. Martin is Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King's College London.

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Episode 27
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Politician Chi Onwurah, Author Carl Miller, activist Hera Hussain and founder Alvin Carpio all take part in this episode recorded at the recent Politics Summit in West London. We talk to Chi about the prospects for Britain as an innovation nation under a labour government, ask Carl who we should be calling the new aristocrats of the information age and find out from Hera how the internet's first Catbot is helping women across the world escape domestic violence.

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Episode 26
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This week we talk to Nadine Smith from the Centre for Public Impact about how government needs to change in order to get fit for the 21st century. Nadine offers a compelling take on how a lack of empathy and humanity in our institutions is creating challenges for their legitimacy. This can be seen in Brexit but also in plenty of areas of public life and Nadine has been talking to governments around the world about how they can become more human at a time when artificial intelligence is on the rise.

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Episode 25
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Author and journalist James Ball joins us this week for a discussion of his books Bluffocracy and Post-truth. We cover plenty of ground including a look at how the business model of journalism is changing the information economy, why algorithms are never agnostic, how fact-checking might not be the solution to polarised politics and perhaps most importantly, how Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage might just be an inspiration to us all.

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Episode 24
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Recorded live from the GovTech Summit this episode gives a whirlwind tour of an emerging industry looking to link governments up with innovative technology companies in a bid to make government more effective and more importantly, improve public services.

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Episode 23
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Ireland is no stranger to referendums. This week we talk to elections expert and transparency campaigner Liz Carolan who co-founded the Transparent Referendum Initiative which used the technology available through Who Targets Me to monitor online advertising during the recent referendum on the country's abortion laws.

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Episode 22
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Back once again with the ill behaviour, block rocking beats and the lowdown on tech & politics. This week we talk to digital campaigning guru Sam Jeffers about Who Targets Me, a global effort to crowdsource data on political adverts through a simple browser plug-in. We talk the evolution of digital campaigning, who's buying Brexit ads, what 'made for social' content looks like and whether Donald Trump really did use the same tactics as Barack Obama when it came to mobilising voters online.

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Episode 21
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Author Jamie Bartlett returns to the studio to discuss his new book The People vs Tech. Is democracy being fundamentally undermined by the advance of technology? Will we be asking Alexa who to vote for in the near future and why does mobile phone addiction matter? All this and more is up for discussion in the last episode before Government Vs The Robots takes a break for the summer...

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Episode 20
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This week we talk to Mevan Babakar. Mevan is Head of Automated Factchecking at the factcheking charity Fullfact. In this episode we talk about why facts are important to democracy, the prospects for realtime factchecking in politics and how AI can play a role in helping improve the quality of political debate across the world.

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Episode 19
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Rhian Lewis is a former Journalist for the The Times. Today she works as a programmer having founded a cryptocurrency portfolio tracker and established the London Women in Bitcoin network. In this episode we talk about why Rhian is such a big believer in Bitcoin, examine the potential of blockchains to decentralise politics and explore the possible political and environmental consequences of such technologies.

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Episode 18
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High tech firms, low wage jobs. What is life like working on zero hours for some of the world's biggest tech companies? James Bloodworth spent 6 months working undercover in low wage Britain for employers including Uber and Amazon. What he saw comprises a book which although not explicitly about technology and politics, offers an essential perspective on the role of big technology as an employer. James talks about the likelihood of robots taking the types of jobs he did for the book, the internal culture of Uber and Amazon and why we should we feel confident we can make a big difference to those currently working zero hours contracts for the minimum wage.

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Episode 17
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We talk to former Uber, Treasury and Policy Exchange man Chris Yiu about how he sees the prospects for public service delivery in an age of ever increasing technological possibilities. Chris now heads up technology policy work at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and this discussion ranges from singularity, to GDPR and whether it's ever cool to work for Government.

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Episode 16
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Is it time to move beyond party politics to build a better Britain? This week we talk to Bess Mayhew, CEO of More United. More United is a cross-party crowdfunding platform which supports MPs who subscribe to a series of shared values. They've recently campaigned in by-electionsand their member MPs in lots of constituencies at the General Election.

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Episode 15
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How do ideas spread in today's world? We talk to Henry Timms, one of the authors of the book New Power about why we need to rethink the way power flows through society. It's well established that people no longer trust institutions but do institutions trust people? The conversation draws on examples from Tetris to Texas to demonstrate the charactersitics of new power and you've ever wondered how climate change deniers are out communicating climate change campaigners then this is the episode for you.

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Episode 14
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It's bumper show this week with Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, the UK's top government statistician John Pullinger, Angelica Palma from the Government of Colombia and Argy Kavvada of NASA. We explore whether it is hard to be an authentic politician in modern Britain, the impact of Brexit on the type of statistics government needs and why Colombia is a trendsetter in the use of data for public policy making. All of these interviews were recorded at the Data for Development festival in Bristol.

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Episode 13
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Will we print the ready meal of the future at home? What role does nanotechnology play in our processed food? What more can government do to promote transparency and protect consumers? In a break from the intense politics of recent epsidoes Jonathan talks to Nicola Temple, Author of Best Before: The evolution and future of processed food about what can expect from 21st Century food, how it affects climate change and public health and what might be needed to address inequalities in the food chain.

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Episode 12
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Do you think you are good at the internet? this week we talk to Rachel Coldicutt, CEO of the internet think tank Doteveryone about how much Britain really knows about the internet. We cover the perils of public wifi, the possible need for a good technology trademark, why tech giants might find their business models under pressure in the next few years and whether it's right to assume people are ignorant or gullible when it comes to information online.

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Episode 11
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In this week’s episode Pringle draws on the elections of 2017 to explain how recent electoral success has come to those politicians with a simple strategy.

With local elections in the UK as well as a referendum in Ireland we can anticipate a rise in partisan campaign groups that promote the messages candidates might not want to associate themselves with.

On a lighter note we also ponder when we might see the first use of holograms by a national politician - something already seen in India and elsewhere...

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Episode 10
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Cybersecurity is up for discussion this week with former GCHQ analyst Cameron Colqhoun. Cameron is Managing Director of the ethical intelligence company Neon Century and has written for Wired Magazine. Have a listen to find out what keeps him awake at night, why politics is being conducted with 'surgical precision' and just what it might be possible to find out about somebody on the internet....

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Episode 09
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Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith joins us in the studio to explain the true capacity of government to embrace emerging technology. We also had a visit from some very noisy builders so please forgive the odd bang in the background.


Producer: Cecelia Armstrong

Music: www.bensound.com

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Episode 08
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This week we're coming over all Jamiroquai and talking virtual, augmented and real reality with Marisol Grandon. Marisol is CEO of Unfold Stories and the founder of Women in VR.

Producer: Cecelia Armstrong

Music: Bensound.com

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Episode 07
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We speak to Spectator Journalist, BBC Presenter, Author and Think Tank Man, Jamie Bartlett about technology and politics in 2018. Prepare to be provoked, to be fascinated and quite probably, to be pessimistic.


Editing: Cecelia Armstrong

Music: www.bensound.com

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Episode 06
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A very short Christmas message to say THANK YOU! Get in touch with ideas for interviews and issues in 2018. Big thanks to Cecelia Armstrong for her help all year and the Little Atoms crew.

Music: Bensound.com

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Episode 05
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We talk to drones expert Daniel Ronen of UAVaid about how the use of drones might evolve in the coming years. From instant delivery in the UK and US to delivering urgent medical supplies in remote regions of poorer countries.


Production: Cecelia Armstrong

Music: www.bensound.com

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Episode 04
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This week we talk to Claire Melamed about big data and the future of politics. Claire is Director of the UN's Global Partnership for Sustainable Data.


Producer: Cece Armstrong

Music: www.bensound.com


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Episode 03
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We get a bit more political this week whilst looking at just a few aspects of the impact of the internet on politics. Host Jonathan Tanner talks to Communications Guru John Coventry about the explosion in online petitions, what the means for public policy and the future of crowdfunded politics.

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Episode 02
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This fortnight, host Jonathan Tanner sits down with Ben Maruthappu to explore the possible impact of new technology on healthcare services. Ben was digital innovation advisor to the NHS Chief Executive Lord Stevens and now runs Cera, a start-up looking to reshape care provision at home.


Presenter: Jonathan Tanner @tannerjc

Producer: Cecelia Armstrong

Music: Bensound

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Episode 01
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We look at the possible politics of driverless cars with former Deputy Mayor of London, Isabel Dedring.


Host: Jonathan Tanner

Production: Cecelia Armstrong

Music: Bensound.com

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Introduction
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Find out what to expect from Government Vs The Robots

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Thanks for listening. If you would like to listen to more great podcasts head over to Little Atoms

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