Houses of Parliament: Guest Presenters

BBC Blue Room at The Houses of Parliamnent

Today, the Blue Room were privileged to take our technology roadshow out on the road, to the Houses of Parliament no less! The team were joined by colleagues from the Business Development and Engagement teams in the BBC, to bring to life a series of consumer technology issues. We were incredibly excited to be back on the road with a large event, and especially excited to showcase these technologies to members of the Houses of Commons and House of Lords.

You can just about see me in this pic, talking about TV homescreens

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to present our demos and work looking at public service broadcaster (PSB) prominence, attribution, accreditation and more, to MPs and Lords from across the political spectrum. If you know me, then you know that I have passionate thoughts about the so called state of "UK Film" versus the amount of American stories we actually see on British cinema screens. One of my ongoing worries (and fields of expertise in Broadcast) is that the UK's TV Industry is in constant danger of being eaten up entirely by American content, as a result of what is happening in the end-user, audience owned, devices.

Having the Television Operating systems and devices of the day given to MPs to try out in person, was a fantastic way to cut to the chase, and to make the challenges facing all UK channels and content makers actual and concrete.

The Houses at Parliament, in a slightly festive mode

My favourite demo was placing a television remote into the hands of a visitor and asking them to 'find live television' - on many new devices this is actually quite difficult, with one major brand even removing the TV Guide button completely. I'm pleased to say that the MPs and Lords all left that demonstration with a understanding of the challenges, and frustrations, that audiences wanting to find UK content may face in the future - unless of course those same decision makers can act in the UK's interests with regulation or new laws that protect British Media in the 2020's and beyond...

We were not there just to talk about television though. Our team's display was nothing short of impressive - my colleagues dove into Metaverse technologies, discussing safeguarding issues in this emergent space. We also showcased generative AI examples, revealing how DALL•E 2 can create bespoke images from simple text prompts. Some MPs seemed to be worried about how easily this would enable political and satirical cartoons to be created... Additionally, we highlighted influential technology products such as TikTok and WeChat, whose ownership and regulation controls lie outside of the UK.

Politics for Beginners...

It was truly an honour to be able to present to policy makers on such an influential stage. Our display of cutting-edge technology left a lasting impression on all those in attendance. We were able to setup on their surroundings, so they were at ease, and we could get to the heart of matter incredibly quickly in an impactful way.

The Houses of Parliament themselves are open to the public as a visitor attraction, and I must admit to being slightly in awe of being in the place where the decisions that affect the country are debated and made. I'm proud to have been a part of such an impressive event, and I'm looking forward to seeing if we have played a small but pivotal role in providing context and insight to government that will have positive impact for everyone in the UK.

I think many of the MP's enjoyed it too...