7 June 2023

Let’s make London the most hi-tech city in the world


London and technology depend on each other. Last week London was ranked the world’s most high-tech city. The UK’s world-beating tech sector starts and ends with the lifeblood of London. Without London, the UK’s tech sector would be limp – without world-leading tech, London’s vibrancy would be lost.

As a tech entrepreneur, both London and tech run through my veins. But there’s so much latent potential in this city waiting to be unleashed – like using AI to make our public bodies and services run smoother. It won’t happen on its own. It requires drive, leadership and vision – from a mayor who knows how to do it, and who has done it before.

I’m staking my claim to be Mayor of London with the promise to leverage my experience in leading digital transformation across Europe to transform our incredible city.

Crucially, this mission will have benefitting people at its heart. I’ve championed tech in a myriad of ways, but it has always been about unlocking the best in people – making their lives easier, making government work better for them, and giving them the keys to prosperity. That’s the London dream.

I’ve built a career making governments and the private sector work better for people through technology. I founded PUBLIC – a digital transformation agency which uses the power of technology to streamline public services. I have also supported fantastic socially-minded tech entrepreneurs, backing over forty leading UK tech startups solving social and public policy problems. I know first-hand how the amazing ideas, tools and technologies created by tech entrepreneurs can change the lives of people in London.

This is the people-centric tech city I want to help build, driven by an entrepreneurial spirit.

City Hall under my leadership will ensure tech solutions are embedded in everything we do. But we will also execute a clear plan of action to ensure London’s global leadership in technology.

First, digital services. I’ll use my experience as a technology entrepreneur to invest in modern public services that actually work for Londoners, including a single digital front door that you can use to access all local services and reduce your cost of living. No more clunky log-ins, forgotten passwords, or simply local services that don’t work. I’ll make public services seamless. And quickly, too.


I also want to explore an e-residency programme like the one famously pioneered by the government of Estonia (‘e-Estonia’). Techies around the world love this programme and know how powerful it can be. A London equivalent could give overseas investors and entrepreneurs, access to key digital services in London – including UK business banking – to more easily attract talent, startups and investment.

Second, data. Local authorities, healthcare, and police need to be supported to open datasets for secure sharing. But done right, this data could be used to build predictive models to allow us to provide more targeted and proactive services. Think how we could use data better to recognise and support vulnerable citizens at risk of rough-sleeping, or to provide more rounded support to children in care.

But bigger than that, I want London to become the biggest sharer of open city data in the world. Providing access to open datasets for traffic, planning, pollution, healthcare, and lots more. It would offer secure environments for civic-minded technologists to use this open data to develop new services to improve the lives of Londoners. All of this will be underpinned with secure information-sharing systems that I’ve spent my career creating.

Third, AI. Simply put, I want London to be the globally leading capital for AI. We have thousands of technologists, data scientists and AI entrepreneurs already here. And I want to support this with a City Hall that actively champions and invests in the sector.

I would introduce a Chief AI Officer, reporting to the Chief Digital Officer, to drive AI adoption across councils, the police, GLA and fire services. The Chief AI Officer would be responsible for ensuring ethical standards are applied. They would also chair an AI Committee for London – a group of the world’s leading AI technologists, entrepreneurs and scientists. This group would be at the heart of London’s AI approach, and would ensure we lead the way in the responsible, safe and ethical use of AI across the city.

We could also create an AI to act as ombudsman to troubleshoot centrally all London councils. One of my biggest frustrations as a citizen of London over the years has been the disparity of services between boroughs. This AI ombudsman would analyse different experiences of public services – from bin collection to leisure facilities – on a range of metrics and feed them into a central dashboard. Over time, this dashboard would then be made public to drive up standards across councils.

Through innovation and adopting the technologies of tomorrow, London can thrive for years to come. But that won’t happen on its own. We need to do so much more to unleash the latent potential of our city and its people.

As your Mayor, I will make that happen.

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Daniel Korski is an entrepreneur and former government advisor.

Columns are the author's own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of CapX.