Education debate: Bishop of Oxford says digital technology learning should be in ethics as well as skills

On 8th December 2017 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords, ‘That the House takes note of the role of education in building a flourishing and skilled society.’ The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate and his speech is below. The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches can be seen here.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, like other speakers, I am grateful to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for his leadership in this debate and in much else.

I speak this afternoon from three perspectives: as the bishop of a diocese with more than 280 church schools, both primary and secondary, and that number is rising; as a member of your Lordships’ Select Committee on artificial intelligence, which has been a fascinating enterprise; and as a grandfather with three, as yet unsuspecting, grandsons who will enter the education system in the next year or so. The eldest is two and a half and the youngest is just three months. Those grandsons will grow up in a different world. They will probably never drive or own cars; they will interact with screens and machines from an early age, something which is already happening; they will need to know how to set boundaries around their online lives; and their working life and their leisure will be more different from mine than my own is from my grandfather’s. Continue reading “Education debate: Bishop of Oxford says digital technology learning should be in ethics as well as skills”

Bishop of Gloucester – crucial to work with young people on internet and social media reforms

On 7th November 2017, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.’ The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate, which was also reported in the Telegraph newspaper.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, like other noble Lords, I am very grateful to the Select Committee for this report, and I agree with so much that has been said already. So many young people today source their identities from social media and internet advertising, which has resulted in low self-esteem and poor mental health. Over the last 18 months or so, I have been spearheading a campaign called Liedentity, which is focused around body image and challenging the lie that our value comes from our physical appearance. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester – crucial to work with young people on internet and social media reforms”

Bishop of Chelmsford says digital world needs children’s best interests at heart

On 7th November 2017, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.’ The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who serves on the Communications Committee, spoke in the debate. His speech is below, and was also reported in the Telegraph and Mail newspapers.

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, it is a great joy to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron. I support the amendments she is pioneering through the House. They are extremely important. It is also a great honour, and a great education, to serve on the Select ​Committee on Communications. As other members of it have said, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Best, for the admirable and skilful way he led us through this. I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, as our new chair.

So much in this report is critical to the sort of world we want to live in, the well-being of our nation, our public life and particularly our children. In his opening speech the noble Lord, Lord Best, outlined disturbingly well the challenges and dangers. Although I welcome the initial responses we have heard from the Government, much more still needs to be done to join all this up and make sure the needs of the child are put at the centre. Among the many important recommendations we offer, I draw attention to just two, because they are important in themselves and illustrate the larger, central point of our report—that government must take up the challenge to ensure that all those who work in the digital world work together to support the needs of children in an integrated and overarching response. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford says digital world needs children’s best interests at heart”

Bishop of St Albans on how digital access and understanding can help deal with social exclusion

On 7th September 2017 Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho led a debate “That this House takes note of the case for improved digital understanding at all levels of United Kingdom society.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, for tabling today’s debate. As well as the powerful economic reasons for improving digital understanding, there are also some very important social reasons why we need to look at this key area. As our lives move increasingly online, we risk leaving those at the margins and without digital understanding even further behind. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans on how digital access and understanding can help deal with social exclusion”

Artificial Intelligence: A Guide to the Key Issues

The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence. This blog by Bishop Steven about the key issues involved in AI, was published on the Diocese of Oxford website.

The one on the right is Artie.

Artie is a Robothespian.  We met last week at Oxford Brookes University.  Artie showed me some of his moves.  He plays out scenes from Star Wars and Jaws with a range of voices, movements, gestures and special effects (including shark fins swimming across the screens which form his eyes).

Artie can’t yet hold an intelligent conversation but it won’t be long before his cousins and descendants can.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now beginning to affect all of our lives. Continue reading “Artificial Intelligence: A Guide to the Key Issues”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about broadband in rural areas

On 11th July 2017, Rt Rev. Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, asked Her Majesty’s Government “what proportion of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund is expected to be available to support the provision of superfast broadband in hard to reach rural areas.” The full exchange is below, along with the follow-up questions asked by other Members:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Ashton of Hyde) (Con): My Lords, the digital infrastructure investment fund aims to support industry investment in full fibre networks, which are the next generation of digital infrastructure. The Government are committing £400 million, which will be at least matched by private sector investments on the same terms. It will be up to the selected managers of the fund themselves to make investments.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about broadband in rural areas”

Digital Economy Bill: Bishop of Chester asks how Government is keeping pace with technological advancement

On 8th February 2017 the Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during a debate on an amendment by Lord Lucas to the Government’s Digital Economy Bill. The amendment was that Ofcom be granted powers to ‘carry out and publish evaluations of algorithms’. 

14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, this is an important amendment because it touches upon the bigger issue of the impact of artificial intelligence on all sorts of aspects of our lives. There is a law called Moore’s law, which says that every two years the power of computers doubles. That has been true over the past 20 or 30 years and we should assume that that power will continue to develop. Artificial intelligence in all its impacting forms will be more and more prevalent in our society and more and more potent in the hands of terrorists in the years to come.
Continue reading “Digital Economy Bill: Bishop of Chester asks how Government is keeping pace with technological advancement”