(27 January 2016) – A recent World Bank’s report covers the Internet’s role in promoting development. It also examines the risks of the digital age — the growing concentration of the industry, increasing inequality as some types of jobs get automated and disappear, and the threat that the Internet will be used to control information instead of sharing it.
Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world. Digital dividends – that is, the broader development benefits from using these technologies – have lagged behind. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed.
For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough.
To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements” – by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable.