Former Obama advisor hired to sort out ‘big data’ for us
He'll be looking at how to deal with company mergers, competition, and using tech for good
The UK government has hired someone Obama called "one of the most brilliant economic thinkers of our generation" to tell us how to make sure we don't let big data screw us over.
What it means: 3/4 of Brits have a smartphone which they check every 12 minutes. If we're ordering food, watching movies, talking to friends, buying stuff, learning stuff – chances are we're doing it online.
A new digital job is created in the UK every 50 minutes, and the tech sector is worth £116 to the economy – for context, that's almost as much as the annual NHS budget.
But there are problems which, especially post-Brexit, Brits need answers to. Are we worried about how much power Google, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay have over our purchasing habits, and should we be? If a handful of companies now own so much data about us, is there any way smaller ones can still compete? How can we use data to tackle social issues like traffic congestion, pollution, or diagnosing medical conditions faster?
Jason Furman, former chief economic advisor to Obama, has been hired to answer all these questions and more. He'll be overseeing a panel of 'thinkers' (that's as much detail as we've got on these people so far) to try and come up with some solutions in time for Britain to set its own regulations on the topic after it leaves the EU.