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’.
The 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.
On 26th January 2017 the Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a question in the Lords about electricity interconnectors. His question and follow-up, and those of Peers, are below:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, at peak electricity demand, what level of supply is expected to be available through international interconnectors. Continue reading
On the 14th April 2014 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke during a debate on the Deloitte report ‘Technology and people: The great job-creating machine published in August.’ Bishop Alastair spoke about the competing pressures of company supply chains and corporate responsibility, the values of society and the impact technology is having as efficiency cuts across the face-to-face pastoral engagement of professions such as healthcare. The Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe responded for the Government and addressed a number of the questions highlighted by the Bishop.
On 3rd March 2016 the House of Lords considered a questions for short debate tabled by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to promote the principles of the circular economy, based on the re-use, repair, refurbishment and recycling of existing materials and products, to protect the environment, give new growth opportunities and avoid waste.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, my thanks also go to the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, for this important debate on the circular economy.
I want to spend just a few moments highlighting the economic and environmental impact of planned obsolescence—this has already been referred to —particularly in technological goods, which we know is used by companies to drive growth and ensure a steady supply of return customers. It is a business model that relies on technological products needing to be upgraded and/or replaced at regular intervals, whether because they go out of fashion, have a limited lifespan, or are difficult or expensive to repair. Continue reading
On 23rd February 2016 Baroness Jones of Whitchurch asked Her Majesty’s Government “what progress has been made in reducing levels of unwanted electronic goods ending up in landfill through encouraging manufacturers to produce more sustainable products.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, nothing exemplifies our society’s throwaway attitude more than modern smartphones, which are almost impossible to get repaired at a reasonable cost, with batteries that are fixed in them and processors which are designed not to work after a couple of years. In contrast, there are now some social enterprises such as Fairphone, a Dutch company, that are producing phones using ethically sourced materials and in which every part can be replaced or upgraded when necessary. Does the Minister agree that such an initiative needs to be held up to the technology industry as a good example of the way forward to find sustainable products? Continue reading
On 16th January 2014, the Bishop of Derby took part in a debate to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the world wide web. He spoke about the huge advances enabled by the world wide web, but also of the challenges presented by technological advances.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, on introducing a party into this Chamber. Perhaps the screens should have moving images and the lights should move much more quickly.