Seize the opportunities of digital technology to improve well-being but also address the risks

digial 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

Digital technology can improve our lives but it also poses a major risk of widening social inequality and blocking opportunities for people without the skills to navigate the online world safely, according to a new OECD report.

A mix of technical, emotional and social skills is a pre-condition for people to combine their digital and real lives in a balanced way, and to avoid the mental health problems and other risks linked to abuses of online technologies, the report says.

How’s Life in the Digital Age? uses the 11 dimensions of the OECD’s well-being framework to assess the risks and opportunities that people face in their experience of the Internet, mobile devices, big data and artificial intelligence across countries. The dimensions include income and wealth; jobs and earnings; health; education and skills; work-life balance; civic engagement and governance; social connections; environmental quality; personal security; housing; and subjective well-being.

Finland scores well. Its citizens reap many benefits from digitalisation and are relatively protected from its risks. Other comparatively strong performers include Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Korea, and New Zealand.

Countries that combine low opportunities with high risks include Chile, Italy and Hungary while the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands enjoy high opportunities while at the same time facing high risks.

“Digital technologies have radically and rapidly changed the way we work, consume and communicate,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Ensuring this transformation also improves our well-being means addressing such issues as digital equality, literacy and security.”

The ambivalence of how digital technology affects well-being extends across most dimensions, the report finds. For instance, while jobs are created in new technology sectors, others risk being destroyed by automation. And if teleworking allows people more flexibility in organising their professional and personal lives, constant connection to the office may increase people’s worries about their work outside official hours.

While online interactions with friends and on social networks can be enjoyable and fulfilling, cyber-bullying, online harassment and hate speech have become serious social problems.

Making the best use of digital technologies without undermining the basic elements of human well-being requires a diverse set of cognitive and emotional skills. An example of such ‘digital literacy’ is the critical assessment needed to distinguish between high and low-quality information, while self-control over online involvement can prevent digital addiction.

The report argues that much can be achieved through public policies to mitigate risks, even in highly digitalised environments. As the country indicators reveal, broad internet access alone is not sufficient to seize properly the positive opportunities offered.

The report assesses opportunities and risks of the digital transformation across most OECD countries through a set of 33 indicators covering the well-being dimensions. The indicators include, for instance: wage returns to ICT skills; buying and selling goods and services online; digital resources in schools; individuals experiencing abuse of personal information; and jobs at risk of automation. The report adds, however, that the indicators are not comprehensive and further evidence and statistical gathering is required in order to deepen our understanding of how digitalisation is affecting our well-being.














the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The German banks first to profit from public subsidies of trillions

Innovation is the key to the pay-TV industry’s long-term growth

Women still struggle to find a job, let alone reach the top: new UN report calls for ‘quantum leap’

Europe split in confronting the US sanctions on Iran, Washington isolated

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Berlin repels proposal for cheaper euro

Security: better access to data for border control and migration management

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

A Sting Exclusive: “Global Climate: Our Common Responsibility”, S&P MEP Miriam Dalli underlines from Brussels

Uncovered liabilities of €5 billion may render EU insolvent

How Britain’s backyard bird feeders are shaping evolution

End racist discrimination against Afro-European people in the EU

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Britain in and out of the EU

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

Deal on faster exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records

Violence will not deter Somali people in their pursuit of peace, says UN chief, in wake of lethal attacks

The ITU Telecom World on 14-17 November in Bangkok, Thailand

Work Together to Build a New Type of International Relations and a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity

More electric cars on EU roads by 2030

The Chinese retail revolution is heading west

The G7 fails to agree on growth but protects the big banks

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

Dreaming of China

We need to rethink the way we heat ourselves. Here’s why

5 things you need to know about creativity

MEPs strongly welcome the Global Compact on Migration

Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

Working fewer hours makes you more efficient. Here’s the proof

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

As human genome editing moves from the lab to the clinic, the ethical debate is no longer hypothetical

The scary EU elections result and the delayed Council’s repentance

Entrepreneurship and strategic planning: the enabler

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

How a more integrated approach could help to end energy poverty

Three ways China can make the New Silk Road sustainable

‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator

Essential services on verge of shutdown in Gaza as emergency fuel set to run out

‘Foreign children’ in overwhelmed Syrian camp need urgent international help, says top UN official

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

THE COMMITTEES: From the colonies to the space race – past, present, future converge in Fourth Committee

Commission: Gifts of €6 billion and free trainees to ‘help’ poor employers

Eurozone: Despite anemic growth and shaky banks marks record trade surplus

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to hit the construction industry. Here’s how it can thrive

Three countries losing ground and one new prime minister

6 charts that show how Japan’s economy stacks up as it enters a new era

‘Huge’ stakes, ‘daunting’ job to tackle gender-based violence, UNICEF chief tells ground-breaking conference

How to build a model for human security in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU to Turkey: No other ties than €3+3bn to upkeep refugees

The DNA of the future retail CEO

Love unlimited

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

If people aren’t responding to climate warnings, we need to change the message

These are the world’s most tree-covered countries

AI can wreak havoc if left unchecked by humans

Main results of EU Environment Council, 25/06/2018

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s