What did I learn from taking part in the Empowering Women in a Digital World programme?

Samantha Smith, Head of Strategy and Architecture and Interim Director of IT Operations at Local Government Shared Services (LGSS), discusses how the Empowering Women in a Digital World (EWDW) programme helped her grow on both a personal and professional level.

What do I want to accomplish and what did I want to be known for?

Two of many questions we were asked on the EWDW course. I thought I knew myself quite well when I started the course but when asked those questions I had to pause and reflect. I was keen to attend this course and really looking forward to it but found I was not prepared for its impact.

Continue reading “What did I learn from taking part in the Empowering Women in a Digital World programme?”

What did I learn from taking part in the Empowering Women in a Digital World programme?

Stop the killer robots, UN urged

blog

By Max Salsbury

Maker of everything Elon Musk has called for the end of so-called ‘killer robots’, warning that they could become weapons of terror.

Along with another 115 technology types, Musk has asked the United Nations to ban the production and use of automated killing machines, such as drones and machine guns that go about their lethal business without a human finger in sight.

It’s an admirable notion but seeing as there are thousands of nuclear warheads in the world that the UN doesn’t seem to have been able to do much about, one suspects that the march towards more expensive ways of blowing things up will continue unabated.

Anyhow, in a letter to the world’s collective conscience, the techies warn that robotic killing machines represent the ‘third revolution in warfare’, with the first two being gunpowder and nuclear bombs.

They write: ‘We don’t have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is open it’ll be very hard to close.’

Back in 2015, when, amazingly, the world seemed a comparatively normal place, the UK government opposed a proposed ban on automated weapons on the grounds that, get this, ‘international humanitarian law already provides sufficient regulation for this area’ – and if that sounds like slippery gibberish, that’s because it is.

Musk has warned on many previous occasions about the threat posed to our ongoing existence by artificial intelligence (AI). He has, I assume, read our briefing on AI from earlier in the year, that covers its current use in local government and which you can read here.

Sadly, killer robots have two large things in their favour: firstly, they tap into the human race’s unparalleled capacity for mass slaughter; and, secondly, they offer a way for a handful of people to make a great deal of money. So, things aren’t looking good.

Stop the killer robots, UN urged

How can we encourage more girls into computing?

Girl and computer

By Max Salsbury

New figures have revealed that fewer than 10% of the students that took a computing course in the last round of A-levels were girls. Excellent news for disgruntled ex-Google employees with feverish theories, but bad news for just about everybody else.

With most of us agreed that computers are going to be quite useful in the future, the UK’s already worrying IT skills shortage is starting to look critical when 50% of the population is apparently turning its back on all things silicon.

Continue reading “How can we encourage more girls into computing?”

How can we encourage more girls into computing?

ICO gets a myth-busting on GDPR

Broken Glass

By Max Salsbury

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has decided to step things up as we countdown to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) day (25 May 2018, the day before my birthday).

The Information Commissioner herself, Elizabeth Denham, has begun a series of blogs to separate the ‘fact from the fiction’ surrounding the EU’s vast data protection shakeup.

Continue reading “ICO gets a myth-busting on GDPR”

ICO gets a myth-busting on GDPR

Government says you should be forgotten (if you want): new data laws coming soon

By Max Salsbury

The government has announced plans to ‘strengthen and update’ the UK’s data protection laws – in a move that will be bad news for firms whose sole purpose is to find out everything about everyone on the planet, but good news for anyone who’s ever embarrassed themselves on the internet at 2am.

Continue reading “Government says you should be forgotten (if you want): new data laws coming soon”

Government says you should be forgotten (if you want): new data laws coming soon

What we learned at Connected Local Government Live 2017

As one of the key events for local government digital leaders, Socitm representatives attended Connected Local Government Live 2017 which covered a wide range of IT and digital-related topics.

Throughout the two days there were lots of thought provoking presentations and discussions on how tech and digital service can transform public services and meet the needs of citizens at a local level.

Here are our top five ‘takeaways’ from the event – you can read more about them in our latest member briefing.

Continue reading “What we learned at Connected Local Government Live 2017”

What we learned at Connected Local Government Live 2017

Biological differences? Deal with it, Damore

By Anna Sexton

Two things happened this week that once again stirred my passion for diversity in the workplace and the importance of championing women in technology professions.

Number one: I completed the mobile game Lumino City. I’ll come back to that later.

Continue reading “Biological differences? Deal with it, Damore”

Biological differences? Deal with it, Damore