News round-up (23 April)

man looking at online news headlines
23rd April 2021 about a 3 minute read
In case you missed them - here are some of the headlines that caught our eye this week...

Government should consider new health and employment rights to protect wellbeing in the digital world

The Select Committee on COVID-19 has published a report called Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World. 

It warns that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone benefits from the increasing reliance on digital technology post-pandemic.

Without action there is a risk that any increasing reliance on digital technology will exacerbate existing inequalities

Currently about 11% of households (equating to 2.8 million households) do not have internet access, nine million people are unable to access the internet by themselves, 11.7 million people lack the digital skills for everyday life and almost half of ‘non-users’ have a disability or long-standing health issue.

New Chief Scientific Adviser and NIHR lead announced

Professor Lucy Chappell has been named as the next Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

She is Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London, Honorary Consultant Obstetrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator.

As Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Chappell will lead the NIHR, working in partnership with the Director of DHSC’s Science Research and Evidence directorate. 

She will have responsibility for research policy, research management and delivery of the £1.3bn research budget.

Getting smarter: a strategy for knowledge & innovation assets in the public sector

A new policy paper from the Treasury sets outs a plan for getting greater value from public sector knowledge assets.

These are also known as intangible assets, including intellectual property, Research & Development, data, software, expertise and other intellectual resources.

The strategy, called the Mackintosh Report, recommends the setting up of a new unit called The Government Office for Technology Transfer, plus the release of new guidance to support public sector organisations in their management of knowledge assets.

The need for effective AI assurance

In the first in a series of three blogs on AI assurance, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation argues that though data-driven technologies, such as AI, could bring about significant benefits for our economy and society, they also introduce risks that need to be managed.

In the case of AI the authors argue that assurance tools and services are necessary to provide trustworthy information about how a product is performing. This is key when it comes to fairness, safety or reliability, and, where appropriate, ensuring compliance with relevant standards.

As these technologies are more widely adopted, there is an increasing need for regulators, developers, executives, and frontline users, to be able to check that the tools are functioning as expected, 

UK regulator gives green light to delivery drone trials

The FT reports that the Civil Aviation Authority has given the go-ahead to to run trials of drone flights beyond the line of sight of their pilots.

The move could revolutionise the logistics industry as currently such drone flights are banned and the pilot must keep the drone in view. The West Sussex company plans to run trials at three UK locations. 

John McKenna CEO said: “This will deliver big benefits to society across public health & safety, efficiency and environmental impact”.


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