Sadiq Khan: The tech revolution must be shaped for the benefit of everyone

Mar 12, 2018 · The Mayor is at SXSW to bang the drum for London and to reinforce the strong relationship and positive tech and creative business collaboration between America and London.

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is attending the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas today and will use a major keynote speech to call on cities and governments around the world to do much more to harness the great opportunities of the current tech revolution as well as to mitigate against the growing and significant risks.

Sadiq will make the wide-ranging speech - covering social media, the shared economy and the consequences of increased automation. The Mayor is expected to say that politicians and governments have been too passive – ‘sitting on their hands’ - while the tech revolution has happened around them.

He will argue that more must be done not only to ensure we use new technology and innovation to the benefit of everyone in society but how we prevent employment rights being by-passed, more people feeling left behind by the changing nature of our economies and more division within our communities.

Sadiq will say that some tech companies, including social media platforms and peer-to-peer companies, must take more responsibility for the way they are impacting the world and that no business or industry should ever consider itself above local rules, or laws.

The Mayor will also argue that ‘evolving economies must mean evolving regulation’ – and that it’s up to politicians to fix things when the regulation is clearly not working or out-of-date.

On criticising how politicians and governments have been passive while the tech revolution has happened around them, Sadiq is expected to say:

"The onus for change should not just be on tech companies and innovators. One of the biggest problems over the last few years is that politicians and governments have just been passive – sitting on their hands - while the tech revolution has happened around them. There’s been a failure to ensure that our economies and our regulatory structures are prepared and relevant. It must ultimately fall to government – working with tech businesses and leaders - to ensure that this revolution is not detrimental to our long-term progress. There’s been a dereliction of duty on the part of politicians and policymakers to ensure that the rapid growth in technology is utilised and steered in a direction that benefits us all."

On new platforms being used to deepen divisions within our communities and the need for social media companies to take more responsibility, Sadiq is expected to read out some of the racist, abusive and illegal Tweets that he has received since becoming Mayor.

The Mayor is also using his visit to SXSW to help celebrate his #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign. Last night, he attend a business reception hosted by The Mayor's promotional agency London & Partners and addressed tech leaders from the US and London as he called for them to support the achievements of women and for action to be taken to address gender equality.

"2018 is a pivotal year for London as we mark the centenary of women having the right to vote in the UK. And, as a proud feminist, I’ve launched a campaign called "Behind Every Great City". My message today to other cities - and to global tech leaders - is that, collectively, we must do more to champion greater inclusivity within in the tech community. It’s not only the right thing to do, evidence shows that it’s good for business too."

Sadiq will be the first British politician to deliver a keynote speech at SXSW and is joined by by tech entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers from the US and London including: London’s first Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, Austin’s Chief Innovation Officer, Kerry O’Connor and Shamina Singh, President, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth.

A live-stream of the keynote can be viewed on the SXSW Live page starting at 2:00pm CST/ 7:00pm GMT

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