Select Committee on Information First Report


Memorandum by Mr Stuart Hill, Director of the BT Stepchange Programme


The following outlines a day in the life of an MP in 10 years time.

As you leave your house in the morning you put on your ACTIVE LENS (like a contact lens) and then using VOICE ACTIVATION you can view your diary for the day, your personalised newspaper and even read your briefing papers.

The technology that allows this to happen is in the fabric of your clothes (WEARABLE COMPUTING) and the power is drawn from a combination of new, more powerful types of batteries (ENERGY CELLS) and PARASITIC POWER HARVESTING.

On the way to the House you complete the mundane tasks of the day such as agreeing the flight and hotel details that your PERSONAL INTELLIGENT AGENT has suggested, before it goes and completes the arrangements. (The development of SELF SERVE technologies with a NETCENTRIC focus has made life so much easier). The consequent changes to your diary and the need to reschedule some of your meetings are automatically dealt with by your PERSONAL INTELLIGENT AGENT.

Once you arrive at the House of Commons and had a quick chat with a couple of colleagues you've bumped into, you select the first free desk in the COMMUNAL OFFICE AREA. The desk automatically recognises you through your handprint (BIOMETRIC IDENTIFICATION AND AUTHENTICATION) and customises the desktop to your preferences (PERSONALISATION). From this desk you carry out a constituency surgery and through the use of AVATAR technology and HOLOGRAPHIC projections both you and your constituent appear and can interact as if you are in the same room even though you are hundreds of miles apart.

In the afternoon you attend a session in the Chamber. Your opposite number is speaking and quoting some figures—your support team are also watching the debate and are therefore able to send you a message onto your screen highlighting that the figures are grossly inaccurate so that when you respond you can inform the Chamber what the real figures are. (This was first used over 10 years ago by the National Assembly for Wales).

As it is a Thursday afternoon it is time to complete your weekly WEBCAST to update your constituency of the weeks activities. This is completed at any of the desks in the COMMUNAL OFFICE AREA—once the desk has identified and authenticated you it is able to automatically generate your preferred backdrop and eliminate all the background noise. Fortunately the WEBCAST is not a time consuming activity as your PERSONAL INTELLIGENT AGENT has already automatically compiled the majority of the input. Your constituents can receive the WEBCAST in real time via their DIGITAL TVs or they can view it at a later time. Through the use of technology you are able to receive feedback on how the WEBCAST was received and what areas people were interested in.

One of your pet topics over the last 10 years has been COLLABORATIVE DEMOCRACY and you are still surprised that it has not been fully adopted, which you believe is due, in part, to the slow process of Parliament and a surprisingly slow uptake by citizens, although participation in democracy has steadily improved. The monthly meeting takes place in the House and due to the continuing space restrictions the same type of technology as used in the COMMUNAL OFFICE AREA is employed, which caters for both physical and virtual attendees. As the Chairman you initially found it daunting; however the benefits become clear when one of the key speakers at a previous meeting couldn't attend physically, but the fact that he appeared virtually meant the important meeting was still a resounding success.

On the way home you complete the outstanding mundane jobs for which your PERSONAL INTELLIGENT AGENT needs your confirmation, and through your ACTIVE LENS you receive a quick update on constituency matters and a very quick read of your up to-the-minute personalised newspaper, before you settle back to read a few chapters of your novel.

At home you remove your ACTIVE LENS and then retire to bed knowing that as you will be working from home tomorrow you know that you will be able to find the time for a quick swim before you start work.

As you lie in your bed you try to recall how you managed 10 years ago—the long hours travelling, the inefficient ways of communicating with your office, colleagues and constituents, and the difficulties in trawling for information. Although you initially found it difficult to adopt the new ways of working that the technology allowed, the reasons moved from being convincing then compelling before it was almost compulsory in order to stay on top of things and complete your job. And now, you couldn't do without it—how things have changed!!

10 June 2002

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Prepared 15 July 2002