Thanks to Kenneth Spotlessnob having momentarily sat on his multi-enabled phone, enabling a recording device, and then later his slight mistake in copying the recording to an ex-employee, we are able to eavesdrop on a conversation between men of power and standing.
Councillor Broadthwaite: "Ah, Kenneth. I want to talk to you about my visit to Scunthorpeshire. They have some absolutely amazing stuff there."
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "Oh, right. Excellent. What's that, councillor?"
Cllr Broadthwaite: "Fantastic security-controlled car-park, for a start. But they've got a Statistical Unit that can do just amazing things - makes us look like cavemen. And cavewomen, of course."
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "Oh, right. Like what?"
Cllr Broadthwaite: "Councillor Butterfield, I suppose."
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "No, excuse me, I was unclear. I meant to ask what statistical functions they could do."
Cllr Broadthwaite: "Ah. Well, for a start, they showed me how they could feed a lot of information about me into the computer and out came a prediction in less than a minute of how likely I was to be a car thief!"
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "Gosh. How likely are you?"
Cllr Broadthwaite: "Only 1.7% with some twiddly bits."
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "Parameters of significance."
Cllr Broadthwaite: "It was very reassuring, I can tell you. Now just imagine if we could do that for every resident of Odanglesex, not only for being a car thief, but being a good parent, needing home helps, reading dirty books, voting Conservative...and other stuff too. Why don't we have a unit like that?"
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "Interesting, but...."
Cllr Broadthwaite: "I'm going to speak to Bill Wayneflete about it."
Kenneth Spotlessnob: "By all means, councillor, but I can take action on this with your approval."
Cllr Broadthwaite: "Wonderful. Fancy a beer?"
So the Statistical Unit is created. In Part 2 we will see the consequences...