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Podcast: The Computer Weekly Downtime Upload – Episode 18

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, Brian McKenna, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald weigh up the technology credentials of some of the Conservative Party candidates, find out how Google Cloud is helping the Football Association to achieve its diversity goals, and why Sweden appears to be rowing back on its cashless society plans

In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload, Brian McKenna, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald take a cursory look over the Conservative Party candidates vying for Theresa May’s job as party leader and prime minister, find out how the Football Association is using cloud to make the sport more inclusive, and find out how blockchain technologies are being deployed to help in the fight against fake news.

  • The Downtime Upload’s assessment of the technology credentials of the Tory Party leadership candidates begins with Caroline sharing what she has learned about Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, and secretary of state for international development.
  • The MP has hit the campaign trail hard, documenting his every stop with selfies, videos and tweets, some of which have seen him come in for some good-natured criticism on social media, and has also unveiled a new-look website to support his leadership bid.
  • Clare provides a look back on ex-London mayor Boris Johnson’s efforts while in office to position the capital as a technology hub through skills initiatives and bolstering the availability of super-fast network connectivity around the city. The team also reflects on the work Johnson did to forge closer ties with overseas startup hubs.
  • Brian, meanwhile, reflects on how Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove introduced changes to the IT curriculum during his tenure as education secretary that championed teaching children how to code as essential to securing a career in tech, which is a concept Clare goes on to say she is not 100% sold on.
  • The conversation moves on to a discussion of the work the Football Association is doing with Google Cloud to bolster collaboration and communication between managers, players and support staff, before discussing the FA’s plans to make more of player data to give its teams a greater chance of success on the pitch.
  • On the subject of data, Brian runs through a research story showcasing the work the University of Surrey is doing in combination with the Open Data Institute with blockchain and artificial intelligence to ensure digital records remain tamper-proof. The work is focusing specifically on safeguarding video content, and could have huge implications, remarks Brian, on how the issue of “fake news” is tackled in future.
  • Clare rounds off this week’s conversation with a discussion about the population of Sweden being advised to keep enough cash at home to see them through a week-long banking outage, which gives rise to a wide-ranging discussion about society’s increasing reliance on cashless transactions.

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