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Coming up on Government vs The Robots: Bytes Not Bombs


Of the moments in life when you worry you might have done something silly, asking a former GCHQ data analyst to scrutinise your internet footprint for an upcoming podcast ranks quite high for me.

That’s exactly what I did this week ahead of a show where we ended up discussing how long Britain could survive without the internet, examining what might constitute a modern version of the London blitz in the event of a modern war, and asking how long Government can retain the ability to authenticate information.

Rather than focus on a post-truth world this week’s guest Cameron Colquhoun chooses to see it differently. As the Managing Director of ethical intelligence company Neon Century chooses to accept that “everything is true” recognising that data and evidence can be used to fit any argument you want to make.

When it comes to the ongoing dissection of Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, Colquhoun talks about the incredible rise of psychographic profiles which enable companies like Cambridge Analytica to identify around 5,000 data points per swing voter, which in an election with only a few hundred thousand voters makes the manipulation of emotion more of a science than the art form it has been perceived to be by the political classes.

If you listen right to the end you might also learn something about your own digital footprint and what the powers that be should think about doing differently to keep us safe in the future

Subscribe to Government vs The Robots on itunes

Further reading: Carole Cadwalladr on social media andelections, Martin Robbins on Cambridge Analytica, James O'Malley on big data


Jonathan Tanner is the host of the Government vs The Robots podcast