Davos

As Davos opened this week, Angela Merkel reportedly poked fun at Theresa May. She keeps saying ‘make me an offer’, said the German Chancellor; who knows it is not her place to do so. May had the opportunity to set the record straight by offering comfort to the world’s biggest influencers around the kind of environment the UK will offer post-Brexit. Instead, she curiously focused on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, promising to ‘make the UK a world leader in innovation-friendly regulation’. That’s not a bad aspiration; for most major innovations (e.g. AI, automated vehicles, big data, blockchain), it is the development of regulation and safety that drive the critical path rather than invention. However, what is not clear is whether May means regulation or deregulation (e.g. ‘our preparedness to bring Artificial Intelligence into public service delivery’ and ‘The answer isn’t to shut Uber down’). The address felt like a sales pitch to tech companies; but what they might have really wanted was assurances over the direction of the negotiations – an assurance which remains elusive.