Richard Aldrich – Keynote Speaker

Award-Winning Spy Writer, Presenter, and Tech Expert

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Specialist Subjects

  • AI and Europe
  • The End of Secrecy
  • Who owns cyber-power?


  • English


Richard Aldrich is a leading cyber-security and technology expert, award-winning spy writer and presenter. He is Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick and helps to lead the Warwick Cyber Security Global Research Priority. He has been involved in major European projects including H2020 DigiGen and the Jean Monnet Cyberdiplomacy programme.

Richard Aldrich’s field of expertise, the future of cyber-security, AI and Big Data, is one of the most pressing current issues. His most recent research has focused on ‘Project Spaceman’, an examination of pioneering British efforts in computer security. He is the author of many books, including GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency (2019) and The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers (2016). He is currently completing a study of Cybersecurity and Digital Politics for Oxford University Press.

Richard Aldrich is an experienced broadcaster and public speaker, appearing on The One Show, Newsnight, the Today Programme and Nightwaves. Most recently he has appeared in ITV’s Secrets of the Spies and Alice Roberts’ C4 Fortress Britain series (2023). He has also featured in several Timewatch, Discovery, ZDF and PBS documentaries. He enjoys literary festivals and has been a regular at Edinburgh and Cheltenham. Richard has assisted with national museum exhibitions related to intelligence, science and technology.

Popular Talks by Richard Aldrich

AI and Europe

Europe is far behind North America and Asia on AI. Its internal investment is a third of what is being spent in Asia and less than a quarter of that in North America. Yet the EU is a regulatory superpower and will have disproportionate effects on this market. Good global frameworks lower transaction costs and increase the possibility of trustworthy AI. In the past technical experts hailing from geopolitical rivals, readily collaborated on standards. Now governments are much less willing to collaborate on conventions as they play games of global cyber-power. The European Union is likely to introduce the first, most stringent, and most comprehensive AI regulatory regimes of the world’s major jurisdictions. It will have first mover advantage and will diffuse this globally, producing a so-called “Brussels Effect”. What will this look like? What are the opportunities for business? What are the problems?

The End of Secrecy

One of the most dramatic changes of recent times has been a decline of confidentiality, especially around business and government. Information is everywhere but secrecy is in short supply. While the ethical aspects of ‘whistle-blowing’ have received attention, few have attempted to explain the technical dynamics underpinning the growing climate of exposure. This has much to do with the changing structure of information and ‘big data’. Moreover, many tech providers are at best agnostic about ‘security’ and the Internet itself provides the perfect medium for the anonymous degradation of secrets. Because the main driver is technology, Richard Aldrich suggests this trend is likely to accelerate, presenting managers with one of their biggest future challenges. But what are the solutions? Paradoxically, in an era when the Internet seems ubiquitous, the top spies now look to a mixture of analogue and manual systems – this offers a solution – but at what cost? 

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