Tuesday, March 14, 2023

British Think Tanks Pivoting Hard to Tech

Here is more from Politico:

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, the government advisory outfit set up by the former Labour Party British prime minister, now has more than 60 people working on tech policy on issues from digital governance to life sciences, artificial intelligence to digital infrastructure.

The institute hit the headlines last month when Blair teamed up with the former Conservative leader and ex-Foreign Secretary William Hague to push a proposal for everyone to be given a digital ID incorporating their passport, driving license, tax records, qualifications and right to work as the cornerstone of a “technology revolution.” 

The center-right think tank Onward, whose former Director Will Tanner is now Sunak’s deputy chief of staff, launched a science and technology "pillar" last August, which will be staffed by three dedicated researchers.

The free market Adam Smith Institute has a new hire working on a policy paper on the safety of artificial intelligence. The Centre for Policy Studies, a stalwart of SW1 policy wonk world which boasts Margaret Thatcher as one of its founders, appointed its first head of tech and innovation last July.


Funding by technology companies to think tanks has also increased exponentially over the years, with many of the major players such as Meta, Amazon Web Services, Google, Zoom, Twitter, and Microsoft donating millions to think tanks (often as part of de facto lobbying efforts).