“Are you sure they’re different?” asked the Downing Street press officer when I called seeking clarification. Yes, I said. A knee is clearly different from a thigh. So which allegation is being denied?
There’s an obvious tension between two of the most prominent current narratives around girls: the moral panic around their use of the internet; and the push to get more of them interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
It will surely come as a shock to many people that while the authorities can tap phones, open mail, bug houses and put suspects (and their dogs) under surveillance, they can’t access a digital source of evidence that prior to the crime may have been viewable by hundreds of people, or even been largely public.
If natural is best then why not ditch the Pill, with its synthetic hormones, in favour of a modern, trendy app subscription?
The advance of technology brings many benefits, but it does not mean we can simply switch off our brains. Computers are not sexist, racist or otherwise prejudiced, but the flawed people who programme them may well be, even if they don’t realise it.
Perfect experiments are almost impossible to design, if ethics are to be considered and spending is to be kept within reasonable limits. The peer-review process should guard against hasty conclusions, but it involves fallible humans who are likely to be more open to findings that build on what’s gone before.
In real life, as in quality fiction, we’re all flawed. Algorithm-based dating technology may give the impression The One is out there, just waiting to be discovered by a diligent box-ticker, but what if a much better match is just a couple of years older, or lives five miles further away, or can’t be faffed with internet dating?
When it comes to mental health, a media-fuelled moral panic has many concluding that digital connectedness is in itself harmful, with cyber-bullies lurking around every corner and teens desperate for approval pouting for non-stop selfies.
There will be jobs tomorrow – they just won’t be the same ones. We aren’t yet redundant, we just need a collective reboot.
Why does it feel like the customer is always wrong and must adapt or die (a digital death)?