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Boom and bust

Will Kherbek
art critic
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piqer: Will Kherbek
Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Squid Speaks: Goldman Sachs' Take On Technology And Innovation In Europe

Famously dubbed a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity" by the journalist Matt Taibbi, Goldman Sachs has had something of an image problem since the economic crash of 2008. Goldman may have a (justified) reputation for ruthlessness, but as its Exchanges podcast demonstrates, there's more to the squid than the sum of its tentacles.

Even if Exchanges were simply millionaire investment bankers crowing about their achievements, hearing what one of the most important financial institutions on Earth thinks about itself would be valuable for those interested in how and why the world looks and feels like it does. Fortunately, there is much more to Exchanges than bankers congratulating themselves (though there is a bit of that). In this episode the presenter and Goldman communications exec Jake Siewert speaks to Jo Hannaford of the bank's technology division about current developments in Europe.

Hannaford, a computer scientist by training, is particularly bullish about the artificial intelligence hub created in the London neighbourhood of King's Cross. Hannaford looks forward to the potential the companies and institutions based in old King's Cross will develop to "disrupt" industries like education and medicine in the proximal future.

If you're a Goldman banker, such "disruption" is good news. The discussion covers the rise of digital banking firms, developing fintech hubs in Berlin, burgeoning tech incubators in Malaga and Lisbon, and gender balance in hiring. The Cloud also fascinates Hannaford, as it is changing the way infrastructure works both in terms of distribution and access to information.

Hannaford, it should be said, is something of a tech-utopianist (she mentions having an "automated milk-buying" service in passing), but she notes there are risks on the European horizon as well, not least the melancholy topic of Brexit. Clouds are appearing on the horizon of the European economy, and not just the kind you can store spreadsheets on. 

The Squid Speaks: Goldman Sachs' Take On Technology And Innovation In Europe
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