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

technology digital

(Aaron Burden, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.


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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

Children are so hungry in one British town they are eating from bins

EU tourism industry expects a new record year in 2014

UN chief extends condolences to families of China landslide casualties

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

99 per cent of intravenous drug users lack access to health, ‘social services with dignity’ says UNAIDS chief

3 ways firms can master the digital challenges of the 4IR

Hunger, displacement and disease: 4.3 million people remain in dire need of aid in Chad

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

How to outsmart bias when you’re recruiting

Five ways to increase trust in e-commerce

Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey: annual assessments and recommendations

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

New Syria fighting represents ‘giant powder keg’, warns aid veteran, as he leaves UN stage

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

Posting of workers: final vote on equal pay and working conditions

Why do overwhelming proportions of EU’s youth feel excluded?

Violence against women a ‘mark of shame’ on our societies, says UN chief on World Day

Commission calls on Leaders to pave the way for an agreement on a modern, balanced and fair EU budget for the future

Cyprus banks under scrutiny

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

EU and African leaders to jointly tackle the migration crisis across the Mediterranean

Investors have a role in securing our shared digital future

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

‘We will not give up on looking for peace for South Sudan’: UN deputy chief

Around 260,000 children in DR Congo’s Kasai region suffering severe acute malnutrition

Parliament wants to suspend EU accession negotiations with Turkey

18th EU Eco-Innovation Forum in Barcelona shows the way for Europe’s new Environmental policy

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

Civil protection: Parliament strengthens EU disaster response capability

‘Critical moment’ for sustainable development, UN chief tells major financing forum

Is the English language too powerful?

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

SoftLayer, an IBM company, @ TheNextWeb 2014: Masters of Failure and Change

Does Draghi have another ace up his sleeve given his Quantitative Easing failure?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

3 ways to fight stress at work

Most people on the internet live in this country

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

As many as 330,000 displaced by heavy fighting in south-west Syria – UN agency

Is Haiti better prepared for disasters, nine years on from the 2010 earthquake?

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

JADE Testimonial #2: Jacques @ Process mapping

The Czech economy is thriving but boosting skills and productivity and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model is vital to sustainable and inclusive growth

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

Peacekeeping chief highlights challenges facing UN Police

We are on the edge of a new ‘cyber’ space age. This is how we make it a success

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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