If you would like to become a member and have the opportunity to comment then please use the Member sign-up form on the home page or under the 'Member's menu tab.


Alternatively if you would prefer to just receive the newsletters then please use the newsletter sign-up box below.





Probably42 News - February 2021


Probably42 logo




Welcome to our February Newsletter!


A major update to our Top 50 Proposals and our Manifesto of Ideas


In the past month we’ve taken forward the scenario planning we did in December around Society and Artificial Intelligence, into a firm set of proposals. These proposals address both the opportunities AI presents but also counter the potential downsides we foresee.


AI will cause huge societal change over the next 20 years, with significant impacts forecast even in the next 5 years. So, it is essential every area of Government policy takes account of it and urgent action is required. The speed of what's happening is challenging the existing institutions we have for policy making.


And don’t take our word for it, this is what the OECD says:

  • ‘Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every aspect of our lives. It influences how we work and play. It promises to help solve global challenges like climate change and access to quality medical care. Yet AI also brings real challenges for governments and citizens alike. As it permeates economies and societies, what sort of policy and institutional frameworks should guide AI design and use, and how can we ensure that it benefits society as a whole?’

If we think Brexit and the pandemic have caused significant societal change, we haven’t seen anything yet. We’ve therefore updated all 10 sections of our Manifesto of Ideas in the light of our further thinking.


Do take a look: ‘A Manifesto for Society in the AI Future’. It’s our flagship Probably42 document summarising our top Transformative ideas and the set of Values and Principles we have developed to underpin them. We keep it as short as possible, but should you want more detail, then it’s underpinned by some 20 ‘Considered Documents’ and ‘Discussion Documents’ that we’ve developed over time.


We would encourage everyone to take a look, but if you don’t have the time, then we have extracted our 50 Top Transformative Ideas as an ‘at a glance’ list of one-liners below, just to give you the flavour. You’ll see that there are a lot of new ones, especially in section 1.


1. Accelerating Innovation and ensuring it contributes positively


Accelerating Innovation

  • Create an Innovation Eco-system to enable and accelerate deployment
  • Engender a National Obsession with Productivity

Ensuring it contributes positively

  • Establish a ‘National Productivity Fund’ and National Dividend
  • Introduce an Artificial Intelligence (and pervasive technologies) ‘Productivity Contribution’
  • Adopt the principle that AI must provide financially for the disruption and job loss it causes
  • Scenario plan now for both the AI Job Disruption and Tipping Point Scenarios
  • Incentivise organisations to re-skill people rather than make them redundant
  • Provide a reskilling infrastructure and job availability service via Govt./Industry/BBC/OU partnership
  • Establish a body responsible for creation of new jobs and managing unemployment as a result of AI
  • Formalise a ‘National Contract for AI Deployment’ to ensure deployment for the good of all

2. Updating the practice of Democracy and Government for the 21st century

  • Enable Advisory Digital Voting to improve democracy at a policy level
  • Introduce a Digital Ideas System to input ideas to Government rather than just give views
  • Introduce new Majority Plus Voting System: Guaranteed Majorities and Better Representation
  • Create a ‘Chamber of the Future’ focused on the long-term by replacing half the House of Lords
  • Address MP Diversity with respect to technology and business understanding
  • Define ‘Governing for all’ measures alongside GDP
  • Set up a Retiree Foundation to harness retirees’ capabilities for the benefit of society

3. Requiring the media to inform and educate in a more balanced way

  • Extend regulation of the media specifically in regard to accuracy
  • Reclassify Social Media and other platforms as ‘Intermediate Publishers’
  • Make source and status labelling of all output mandatory

4. Re-balancing the role and responsibilities of business in an AI Society

  • Implement 7 principles of Meritocratic Capitalism to increase organisations contribution to society
  • Ensure that tax paid in the UK by an organisation is commensurate with the business done in the UK
  • Mandate organisations take responsibility for negative consequences of products & services
  • Enable Social Enterprise Foundations for successful entrepreneurs to ‘give something back’

5. Re-thinking national housing and land

  • Establish a universal rental/part purchase model option for all homes
  • Reduce investment returns on ownership of multiple residential properties and on land
  • Offer substantial incentives for rapid growth of building automation technologies
  • Create Garden Towns and Cities with hi-tech infrastructure
  • Create an independent National Housing Body to manage housing long term

6. Creating a national population and land usage plan

  • Determine how full we are based on competing land usage requirements
  • Develop National Plan and Manage Population Growth and land usage accordingly
  • Regulate Agriculture and Fisheries to achieve defined outcomes
  • Lead by example on Climate Change and the Environment

7. Creating a 21st Century NHS exploiting transformative technology and AI to the full

  • Introduce a parallel preventative medicine NHS.
  • Prioritise use of building automation technologies across NHS and Social Care to reduce costs
  • Re-set and ring-fence National Insurance so that it is no longer a general tax

8. Making the Elderly Social Care System functional and affordable

  • Reduce the need for care, through a combination of ‘Preventative health and fitness initiatives’
  • Encourage an ‘Independence technology’ market to extend the ability to remain in one’s home
  • Apply technology and robotics within residential care homes and nursing homes
  • Encourage construction and marketing of sheltered accommodation and retirement villages

9. Take a root cause approach to ‘Taming the Internet’ and to Law and Order

  • Change the Security v Liberty balance using technology to improve security of us all
  • Balance Organisation rights and responsibilities to ensure they plan for negative consequences
  • Change the basic standards of the internet to support visibility and traceability
  • Implement Virtual identity cards

10. Underpinning ‘Education for Life’ with Technology

  • Provide an enhanced ‘Success in Life’ curriculum to prepare children for life
  • Transform Education with communication technologies, led by BBC and OU.
  • Make education access throughout life the norm to support future re-skilling needs
  • Prioritise STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Subjects
  • Develop a National Careers Online Guidance Service.
  • Develop a Work preparation and job service

You’ll find all the above 50 and more expanded on in A Manifesto for Society in the AI Future

Something completely different

Since first starting Probably42 we have regularly been impressed by just how much of importance does go on in Government, and often the quality of it, but which never finds its way into the press. Also, how open the UK actually is in the availability of this information on Parliament and Government web sites. Plus, the ability to listen and watch first hand the presentations of experts to the various Select Committees on Parliament TV, or to watch video recordings at any time afterwards.


We thought it might be of interest to highlight just 3 recent examples of this information from the substantial volume produced:

Our February Discussion – The Civil Service


Our discussion this month will be on the above topic: We haven’t tackled this topic before, as none of us have direct experience but rely on second-hand views, or on what gets into the press. Clearly some think it seriously needs reform.


You can see our suggested Agenda for the topic at:
Topic for February 2021 – The Civil Service – Asset or Liability?


Do let us know if you would like to participate, or if you have any immediate thoughts on the topic, do just reply to this email and we’ll input them into our discussions. Probably42 is all about making use of our joint Knowledge, Skills and Experience to come up with new ideas, so please don’t hold back.


Why not join a Group?


If you’d like to join one of the groups, just email in response to this newsletter and we’ll send you more details. We very much want a diversity of viewpoints, so you can be sure your views will be welcomed. Remember it’s about relaxed discussion and having an enjoyable time, with hopefully some useful ideas identified as an added bonus.




We always welcome any feedback, thoughts, ideas or questions about Probably42. Simply reply to this newsletter and you’ll receive a personal reply.


All the best