The UK has always managed to find itself at the forefront of technology innovation and it strikes me this perhaps seems at odds with our global image. How can this modestly sized, somewhat stuffy island continue to compete against economic giants with such huge resources? A combination of good universities and a thriving technology economy are obvious ingredients of the soup, but let's not underestimate brand marketing when it comes to attracting top technology talent to our intelligence community.
For generations now, boys and girls in the UK (and all around the world) have wanted to be some iteration of James Bond, because who doesn't want to be the hero saving the day? This has been a huge recruitment advantage to the intelligence services for the UK: you see, the truth of the matter is that intelligence work for the government doesn't really pay very much. You are more likely to be staying in a budget hotel from Monday to Thursday than travelling to exotic locations, so having a global icon as your pin-up has always been a useful advantage for HMG.
I am fortunate enough to have met and worked with some of the brilliant men and women who have served in that doughnut shaped building in Cheltenham, and have seen some of the world’s most exciting technology companies emerge from the work they do; Darktrace, Garrison, Panaseer, Immersive Labs, and Senseon to name just a few. So whatever the next Bond looks like, let’s hope they make a bit of effort to reflect that incredible community of men and women who choose to work to keep us safe over a high-paid job in the city.
UK spies will need to use artificial intelligence (AI) to counter a range of threats, an intelligence report says. Adversaries are likely to use the technology for attacks in cyberspace and on the political system, and AI will be needed to detect and stop them. But AI is unlikely to predict who might be about to be involved in serious crimes, such as terrorism - and will not replace human judgement, it says. The report is based on unprecedented access to British intelligence. Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) think tank also argues that the use of AI could give rise to new privacy and human-rights considerations, which will require new guidance. The UK's adversaries "will undoubtedly seek to use AI to attack the UK", Rusi says in the report - and this may include not just states, but also criminals.