Nathan Barleys to fill Olympic chasm - Cameron

Twitterati to save White Elephant?


Prime Minister David Cameron has cast his gaze east across to Essex - and dreams of a landscape filled with social media marketing consultants and SEO boutiques as far as the eye can see.

In the aftermath of the Olympics, Cameron wants to put the land and property on the Lea Valley to private sector use, and his Big Idea is to "nudge" the Shoreditch and Hoxton crowd eastward.

“Our ambition is to bring together the creativity and energy of Shoreditch and the incredible possibilities of the Olympic park to help make east London one of the world’s great technology centres,” said Cameron today.

That would be a sight: a mass migration of tiny designer tricycles as the Nathan Barleys pedal across the Hackney Marshes to Essex. But Cameron is adamant that the Lea Valley will become the new Silicon Valley.

“Right now, Silicon Valley is the leading place in the world for high-tech growth and innovation but there’s no reason why it has to be predominant,” he said.

You may notice one or two flaws in his logic. Britain has already has a counterpart to Silicon Valley based around Cambridge. This is also a cluster of hi-tech expertise and startups, and like the US equivalent these base their location on a close proximity to high quality science and engineering graduates from a nearby University - in Silicon Valley's case, Stanford. These companies also attract risk-taking capital, the vital ingredient in a technology success story. Innovation adds value, and the recognition of this value means business success.

What Cameron refers to is slightly different. The companies around Hoxton are not technology companies - they're service companies that are parasitic upon private enterprise, and represent a cost of doing business, rather than new businesses or business sectors.

This may seen like snobbery, but it's a fact. It's a very post-modern affliction to confuse the two - creating new technological innovations vs talking about them.

Nevertheless, Cameron has got at least one real Silicon Valley engineering company to pave the way - Cisco - while Facebook has promised to set up an office, and Google has promised a sort of talking shop for academics, wonks… and Nathan Barleys. Which is nice.

(Neither Facebook nor Google do much more than sales in the UK; revenue from the operations is legally diverted to their Irish HQs for tax purposes. Google paid no UK corporation tax in 2009, despite revenues of $1.6bn.).

The 2012 Olympics Media Centre

It's laudable to make something of the site after the 2012 games have gone; cities typically lose money on their Olympic investments. The 80,000-seat Olympic stadium will be stripped down to a 25,000 capacity arena, while a media centre costing £300m will most likely be demolished.

Hence the cry has gone out to the Twitterati. Come to our White Elephant. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021