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Probably42 News - February/March 2024


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Welcome to our February Newsletter!


Since our last newsletter our Probably42 discussions have focused on several topics all with a relationship to the next election and the party campaigns. In the most recent discussion we talked about the lack of long-term thinking in Government and what changes were needed to make it happen. We always review our outputs to see if anything is significant enough to be added to our document A Manifesto for Society in the AI Future. On this occasion there was little new to add but it caused us to rewrite and restructure the section on ‘Updating the practice of Democracy and Government for the 21st century’ to strengthen it and put slightly more emphasis on the long-term. We felt it was worth sharing just the long-term elements of that with you here and asking for your comments and additional suggestions:


Embed long-term and ‘next generation thinking’ in Government


It is easy to argue that our political system has failed us over the last 50 years, in particular in not planning for the long-term or for the next generation, something we can’t afford to do in the AI Society. In the 1960s, young people were led to believe that our standard of living would gradually improve, and that as technology played its part, our working hours would reduce. Instead, this generation faces a situation where some of the basics of life are worse i.e. longer and often more pressured working hours, house prices at unaffordable multiples of salary, reduced pension prospects, and a deteriorating health and social care system.


There are a number of barriers to long-term political thinking including the lack of Kudos in it and short election cycles. As ChatGPT says: ‘Addressing these barriers requires a combination of political will, public awareness, and institutional changes to foster a more conducive environment for long-term thinking and planning. This may involve reforms in governance structures, increased transparency, and efforts to educate the public about the importance of sustainable, long-term policies’. Our proposals include:


  • Create a ‘Chamber of the Future’ focused on the long-term by replacing half the House of Lords to address the short-termism of politics. This chamber would create both the ‘Vision for the Future’ and the policies required to accelerate, achieve and manage that vision. Members should be drawn from our top scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and business people.
  • Create a Vision and Ambition for the next 25 years as both motivation and as an overarching context for all decision-making, supported by the strategies to get us there. It should be formulated by the above Chamber of the Future. Continuous productivity and quality improvement through supporting technology must be a core theme.
  • Establish associated long-term bodies and mechanisms responsible for future Scenario Planning and associated ‘Society Development’, Preventative and Contingency/Disaster Planning and tackling Root Causes of major issues.
  • Establish ‘Next Generation Policies’ and ‘Future Generation’ Policies as new terms for talking about some aspects of long-term thinking and planning, to focus minds. Establish time in the Parliamentary timetable for theseEmbed these generational terms in all political discourse.
  • Mandate long-term content of Party Manifestos - Party Manifestos must be mandated to include Vision and Ambition and long-term strategies and policies to get us there; in particular, categorising these appropriately as ‘next generation’ and ‘future generation’ policies.
  • Establish a National Fund & National Dividend Payment as outlined earlier, so everyone receives benefit from increases in productivity and economic growth over the long-term.
  • Define Governing for all measures of wellbeing which receive the same prominence as GDP. Three groups: ‘Good of all’ measures, Company contribution measures, Country success measures. Manage against these to constantly improve these measures over the long-term.
  • Professionalise and embed long-term thinking Establish a ‘long-term thinking in Government’ body to drive long-term thinking and establish a training programme, professional qualification and career structure. Design and carry out a change programme across Government, Civil Service and Public Services to embed long-term thinking alongside the short-term as part of doing a good job. Require all short-term policies to have the context of a longer-term policy. Require all long-term policies to have major and minor milestones and targets with associated ‘annual accountability reporting’. Build a bonus system for Civil servants and Public Services which rewards long-term thinking.
  • Implement the Vision and Intent of the 5 pillars of the Levelling-Up White Paper. This paper is an excellent piece of work and in many ways is a manifesto for a new UK. In implementing it we need to: put extreme focus on getting the new balance of Central/Local control and implementation right; address historic failings in our implementation capability and speed; take account of the full consequences of Artificial Intelligence over the next 20 years.


If you would like to comment on the above, or put forward your own suggestions, we would very much welcome that and we promise to reply.


Recent Discussions


The outputs of our discussions since the last newsletter are at


Forthcoming Discussions


This month's discussion is: 'How Can Government prevent AI undermining our society, while still reaping the benefits?'


The proposed agenda along with some background information can be seen at Topic for March 2024 - Preventing AI undermining society


Government Information that may interest you


As usual we highlight more examples of information on Parliament activity and outputs which may interest you:



Why not join a Group?


If you’d like to join one of the Probably42 discussion groups held via videoconferencing, just email in response to this newsletter and we’ll send you more details. We very much want a diversity of viewpoints, so you can be sure your views will be welcomed. Remember it’s about relaxed discussion and having an enjoyable time, with hopefully some useful ideas identified.


We also want to encourage face-to-face real world discussion groups, as feeders into the main online discussions. If you’d like to find out more about the one in Berkshire, or if you’d like to see one start in your area, just email in response to this newsletter and we’ll send you details.




We always welcome any feedback, thoughts, ideas or questions about Probably42. Simply reply to this newsletter and you’ll receive a personal reply.


All the best




Previous Newsletters


Just click on any of the links below to display the newsletter:


Most recent Newsletters


February/March 2024

December 2023

September 2023


May 2023 


Earlier Newsletters


March 2023

February 2023

November-December 2022

October 2022




January 2022

Nov-Dec 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

June/July 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021