The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Artificial Intelligence, Data Capitalism and the Tech Giants. – Big Innovation Centre at the UK Political Party Conferences 2018

Big Innovation Centre is excited to host fringe events at political party conferences. This year, in 2018, our events are at the two major political parties: The Conservative Political party which is in Government and the opposition, the Labour Party.

Our event at the Labour conference was joint with New Statesman Magazine, and our event at Conservatives conference was with Prospect Magazine.

Our events titles are

  • Labour conference: “Artificial Intelligence, Data Capitalism and the Tech Giants: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly?”
  • Conservative conference: “Rise of Tech Giants and Data Capitalism: The New YOU on Blockchains?”

Download Provocation, click here [The good the bad the ugly 2018]

NOTE: Award nominated by the PRCA Public Affairs as “Best Political Party Fringe Event 2018

Labour Party Conference 2018 fringe event


Event title: Artificial Intelligence, Data Capitalism and the Tech Giants: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

Monday 24th September 2018, 14:00-15:00

Room 1, Hall 2H, ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock, Liverpool

LINK to photos

Our event provocation to be considered by the panel:

Discussion will focus on the implications of the exponential growth of tech giants, an era of big data as ‘the new oil’ (or society’s new footprints), the radical potentials inherent within new technologies such as AI or blockchain, and the possibility of government regulations intended to limit the powers of what are now some of the world’s largest companies.


In light of recent scandals regarding data, and the use and misuse of people’s personal information gathered online, some transnational technology companies have suddenly found themselves in the dock. There have been calls from some quarters for new legislation and strict regulation of these tech giants, who often act not only as major platforms for specially targeted advertising, but also as people’s main conduit for news and information (not least during election time), in order that they can be brought into a similar regulatory framework as traditional broadcast and print media organisations. But in the 21st century, with or without government regulations, big data could prove to be a huge source of wealth creation and innovation. Its proper use can improve efficiency across a number of sectors, both public and private. Much of the debate around data governance is characterised, not incorrectly, by calls for increased data protection, but rarely is the question asked how data can be more effectively used to buttress a new age of economic and technological transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Similarly, the still embryonic blockchain and its distributed ledger technology holds incredible capabilities that could revolutionise sectors as diverse as finance, law, education, healthcare and logistics. Such is its promise, it has been described by some as ‘the new internet’. But government can be slow on the uptake and legislators unaware of how to respond.

Discussion points

In order to address how we can respond proactively, rather than reactively, to the technological curve, the panel will be asked:

  • We are in the midst of a tech revolution which will transform our business models, but what future society do we want?
  • What examples of emerging technology have the biggest potential to revolutionise our daily lives?
  • What are the positive applications of big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain?
  • What are the drawbacks and secondary, unintended or negative consequences of the wider application of big data in artificial intelligence and blockchain?
    • Have we seen/are we seeing the drawbacks of these technologies already? e.g: Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandals (big data); cryptocurrency volatility, theft, fluctuations and misuse on dark web (blockchain); displacement of human labour and vital jobs by machines (AI).
  • How shall we regulate the use of personal and business data?
  • What to do about the new tech giants and the new forms of competition?
  • What role should government play in regulating the tech giants?
  • How can politicians strike the right balance between regulating AI and blockchain technologies and allowing genuine innovation and new markets to prosper?


  • Will Dunn (Chair), Special Projects Editor, New Statesman
  • Angela Eagle MP, Former Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO and Co-creator, Big Innovation Centre
  • Will Hutton, Chair of Steering Group, Big Innovation Centre
  • Carmen Benitez, CEO Fetchplus
  • Dr Abel Maciel Senior Research Associate, The Bartlett, UCL

Conservative Party Conference 2018 fringe event


Event title: Rise of Tech Giants and Data Capitalism: The New YOU on Blockchains?

A joint Prospect and Big Innovation Centre fringe event

Sunday 30th September, 15:45 – 17:00pm

Hall 8E, ICC Birmingham, Secure zone

LINK to photos

Our event provocation to be considered by the panel:

Technological innovation and the accompanying rise of the tech giants have become an inex-tricable part of our cultural lexicon. Yet, despite our reliance on  these  companies,  many  consumers  are uncomfortable with the size and power of these corporate entities. Notably, many tech giants have been able to grow to the scale they have due to their ability to collect and monetize data. For example, Facebook owns the world’s largest pool of personal data while Amazon has on record more pricing information than any other firm in the USA.

On a related note, the rise of digital currencies is the direct result of increased access to data and the accompanying development of blockchain technology. As evidenced by the fact that Japan has passed a law recognizing bitcoin as legal tender, this has been wholeheartedly em-braced by some. In contrast, Bangladesh prohibits the use of virtual currencies due to mon-ey-laundering concerns. In effect, while blockchain is being praised as a technological innova-tion which has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with one another, many questions remain.

To that end, the discussion will aim to address the following key questions:

  • How should tech-giants remain accountable to their users?
  • What makes a tech giant?
  • How can we enable start-ups to grow to scale?
  • How do consumers interact with new technologies such as blockchain? and digital curren-cies?
  • Beyond digital currencies, how might the use of  block-chain  based  technologies  lead  to innovative new services?


  • Panel Chair: Jon Bernstein | Associate Editor | Prospect
  • Professor Birgitte Andersen | CEO and CoCreator | Big Innovation Centre
  • Will Hutton, Big Innovation Centre
  • Chris Francis | Director (Government Relations) | SAP
  • Carmen Benitez, CEO Fetchplus
  • Lee Rowley MP | Public Accounts Committee and Co-Chair, Cross-Party Parliamentary Commission on Technology Ethics

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