If someone were to walk up to you on the street and ask, “Do you know what cyber physical systems are? Are you worried about them?” you probably wouldn’t have the slightest inkling of what they were talking about.
In truth, you would, like most, assume that the person was some kind of “expert” on a technological subject, trying to trick you into thinking it was something that should worry you – like most salespeople do when they try to sell you something.
It would not be the type of thing that would keep you awake at night. Unless, of course, you are Jeremy Corbyn.
People, including the general public, left wing politicians and the media, have been getting themselves worked up over Corbyn’s confusing tweet on Monday about smart industries.
The Labour party leader’s tweet included a picture of himself with the words: “We now face the task of creating a New Britain from the fourth industrial revolution – powered by the internet of things and big data to develop cyber physical systems and smart factories.”
If you are anything like the rest of us, then the first word that popped into your head after reading that was, “What?”.
Now, time to decipher all that jargon so that people can actually understand what he’s talking about. What are cyber physical systems and smart factories? Should we be worried about them?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describe such systems as, “co-engineered interacting networks of physical and computational components. Also known as ‘smart’ systems.”
Basically, it’s just new technology that does physical things for you. Including driverless cars, auto pilot control or process control systems like controlling the temperature of water in a heating jacket.
Understanding this presents the million-pound question: why does Corbyn even care about this?
Truthfully, it doesn’t even sound like he understands what he is talking about himself. It seems that the only reason he uses the phrase “cyber physical systems” is to appear as knowledgeable as possible.
Now, I don’t mean to say Corbyn is entirely wrong with what he said; he does have a bit of a point. It’s just that he is making a blunder out of it. The digital age offers a variety of benefits worldwide: making everything open and available, it gives the general public the chance to be actively involved and allows them to participate in civic decisions, as well as improving health services among other things.
But even so, is this really the main thing that should be at the forefront of Corbyn’s mind? Is this really the most important thing to worry about and concern ourselves with
Arguably, it’s not.
In our current state of political turmoil, where the whole country is trying to understand and deal with the after effects of Brexit, where politicians are trying to fix NHS problems, affordable living and the current problems with the snoopers’ charter, the leader of the Labour party is kept awake by the systems behind driverless cars.
What Corbyn should be focusing on is making his party better and looking to provide the country with some kind of meaningfully relevant opposition to it’s current government at a time it could possibly need it the most.
Even if this was a pressing and important issue, most people don’t understand what it means. Before politicians and high powers tell the general public what it is they plan on supporting, they actually need to invest both time and money to educate people on what this future technology is that Corbyn speaks of.
As it stands, most of the general public don’t understand what this technology is or even what his point was. Surveys suggested people thought it involved a “new Kraftwerk album, or the Terminator, or online sex.” So how can they be expected to vote for it?
In addition to this, as a country, we are not ready yet for politicians to use possible future technological advances to gain leverage for their party. Britain simply don’t have this undeveloped technology because it hasn’t yet been developed, so how can Corbyn use it to gain votes?
If he had properly thought this out, Corbyn could have explained what this was, how it was important and why. Instead, he made a rash decision of making a tweet about it that sounded like a lot of technological jargon that didn’t make sense. And now we’re walking away wondering what he’s talking about and at the same time, wondering if he even knows himself.