Today I co-sponsored a debate in the House of Commons on the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution'. It sounds very abstract, but its all about how technology will change the way we live and work in the near future.
Previous transformations in our economy have taken centuries and decades, this one will be very rapid. The reason I wanted to do this debate, which I co-sponsored with Alan Mac, the Tory MP for Havant, is because I'm really worried that if we get this wrong it will lead to greater inequality or young people lacking the right education and being locked out.
I also wanted to make the point that we must not forget the important e of our manufacturing sector as our economy moves towards a more digitised, cloud-based set of systems. Steel, ceramics, and new materials are being pioneered and used in new ways in Britain just as our amazing car industry shows. I want to make sure that the materials that build the wind turbines, automated cars, and industrial drones of the future come from Britain.
For the self employed too there are massive changes and opportunities and this is going to be a big thing for us in Hove and Portslade. Previously big powerful networks, communications tools, and simulation equipment was the sole domain of corporations and government departments, but increasingly any of us can have this cheaply on a computer at home. So if you have these tools and know how to make the most out of them, have the right imagination and skills, any one of us could achieve something that is transformational in our own areas of work.
It's such a big area that even Sussex University is opening a new £10m centre next year next year to start work on exactly these issues. Its got a catchy name too...The Centre for Computing, Robotic Electronics and Mechatronics (told you!).
Here's the link to my speech in case you're interested, please let me know what you think:
Today's debate was a backbench debate. To get it you have to club together with an MP from another party, or a small group, and go before a committee of other MP's and make a presentation to them on why we should be allowed to use time in the Commons...its the X-Factor of politics!
We were lucky to be successful this time and its the first time this subject has ever been discussed in the House before. Also, because I sponsored the debate I was called to speak second which is amazing for me as I usually have to wait three hours to be called!
I prepared a 12 minute speech and was told just before by the Deputy Speaker that it would have to be cut down to 5 mins as there were too many MP's wanting to speak. So I ran through my speech scribbling bits out, only to be told I actually had ten minutes just as I was called so I had to read my notes through bits of scribbling. 'MPs problems I hear you say'!
Please let me know if technology is changing the way you work or if you think the way your job will be done in a few years will be different to now because of the digitalisation that's happening around us. All the best, Peter