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New Technologies are Not an Answer to a Politician's Prayers

I’m rather wondering if we are hovering on the edge of a precipice? A week, being a very long time in politics, will tell.

I heard repeated references to ’New technologies” on BBC Question Time, last night and it did all rather remind me of the Fuehrer’s ‘Miracle weapons’ of another century.

These new technologies will, like the new skills I referred to in my last weblog, transform the UK economy and its workforce, introducing a well-paid utopia in which all will share equally.

Or will they? Call me a cynic but won’t these same miracle technologies also be available in China or indeed the United States or Germany, where technology investment is invariably higher than the UK and whose societies share the same problem that we do?

I was reading on Bloomberg today how Morgan Stanley is introducing algorithms, not only to support their trading but also to replace many of their highly paid brokers. Pause for a moment to consider what re-skilling is required of a broker earning close to half a million dollars a year, being replaced by a black box?

And so the BBC’s Question time interrogation of our Prime Minister and our Leader of the Opposition was quite predictable. “We want more money.” “We don’t trust what you say.” “The NHS is creaking under the weight of an ageing population.All firefighting today’s big issues and giving very little thought to tomorrow’s.

What happens when we start to live to 125 and it’s normal? What happens when so many genetic and disease-causing mutations are passed into the general population, when in the past, natural selection would have weeded them and indeed, perhaps people like me out? You only have to consider the very different health profiles between factory farmed and free-range Salmon which of course don't carry any form of health-insurance.

Can we count on genetic science delivering miracle cures for all those 21st-century lifestyle ailments which are steadily throttling the NHS with costs and faltering resources? Of course we can’t.

Who pays to look after me when I’m hundred, when my house is sold and my pension and savings are exhausted? Certainly not Google or Facebook or Amazon. And the Government, forget it. Oh, I forgot, it will be the taxes raised on all those new technologies, platform businesses which will exist virtually, domiciled for tax purposes in the Virgin Islands, Luxembourg or the Irish Republic no doubt?

Or just maybe, somebody will find that money tree we have heard so much about?

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