Top 10 Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcasts of 2021

The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast team began the year discussing the online fallout from the storming of the White House and finished it discussing IT and climate change, touching on bees and datacentres along the way

The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast team of Caroline Donnelly, Clare McDonald and Brian McKenna started the year talking about the online shenanigans surrounding the Trumpian insurrection against the Capitol Building in Washington on 6 January.

Bill Goodwin also took the team, in a podcast in February, deeper into US and US-centric political conspiracy theories, and Karl Flinders appeared on the podcast to talk about the Post Office scandal.

Back in April, Sebastian Klovig Skelton related worker resistance in the gig economy, the summer saw a gentle discourse on bees and datacentres from Caroline, and the autumn conference season found Clare talking about the top women in UK tech.

Between those episodes, and another which featured Beyoncé’s stand against data analytics excesses in the music industry, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, put in an appearance on the podcast, albeit at a remove, interviewed on-stage by Bryan Glick, Computer Weekly’s editor-in-chief. Puffins, counted by artificial intelligence during their mating season, also figured.

The podcast “power trio” of Caroline, Clare and Brian mostly talked throughout the year about their own areas of coverage: respectively, cloud, datacentres and IR35; diversity, skills and retail; and data analytics and business applications.

They, and other team members, talked in a more personal vein about their experiences of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its privations and compensations, as they did in 2020. This time around, we heard about Karl’s running exploits and Alex Scroxton’s anticipations of post-lockdown visits to the theatre, as well as harbingers of Christmas, including crafting and the spooky thrills of Halloween.

The team closed the year out, over two episodes, with reflections on IT and the climate emergency, in the light of COP26 in Glasgow.

1. Parler vs AWS, digital schooling, ambulance data

Caroline Donnelly, Clare McDonald and Brian McKenna discuss the purgation of Parler, the traumas of digital schooling and the South Central Ambulance Service’s use of data to support their operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. Disinformation and the US DNC emails leak controversy

The team are joined by Computer Weekly’s Investigations editor Bill Goodwin to discuss the role of disinformation in the 2016 Democratic National Committee emails leak.

3. Post Office Horizon and the subpostmasters’ justice fight

Karl Flinders joins Caroline Donnelly, Clare McDonald, and Brian McKenna to discuss the Post Office Horizon system that brought havoc to the lives of subpostmasters.

4. Uber drivers’ resistance and the gig economy

Caroline Donnelly and Brian McKenna are joined by Sebastian Klovig Skelton to discuss the legal campaign by Uber drivers for the right to be recognised as workers.

5. CyberUK, bees and datacentres, Red Cross digital mapping

Caroline Donnelly and Brian McKenna are joined by Alex Scroxton, Computer Weekly’s security editor, to discuss CyberUK, bees and datacentres, and the British Red Cross’ use of digital mapping to combat Covid-19.

6. Computing exams, AI, water and datacentres

Clare McDonald, Brian McKenna and Caroline Donnelly discuss A-level and GCSE computing results, AI appropriacy and datacentre water consumption.

7. Chancellor Rishi Sunak listens to UK tech

Computer Weekly editor in chief Bryan Glick joins the podcast team to discuss his interview with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, at a Treasury Connect conference.

8. Top women in UK tech, AI on puffin island

In this episode, the team discusses Computer Weekly’s annual programme to choose the most influential women in UK tech, as well as Newham Sparks, and puffin-counting AI.

9. COP26: IT and climate change

Clare McDonald and Brian McKenna are joined by Ryan Priest to discuss IT’s role in combating climate change, as well as YouTube’s temporary expulsion of Novara Media from its platform.

10. COP26 reflections, tech sector reacts to Sunak on skills

Caroline Donnelly, Clare McDonald and Brian McKenna reflect on datacentres and climate change, the tech sector’s reaction to government IT skills investment, and the Post Office scandal.

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