Forum 2017: Digitalisation


Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet-of-Things are reshaping our economies and societies, completely revolutionising the way we work, learn, and live. 

Digitalisation holds many promises to spur innovation, boost more inclusive and sustainable growth and enhance overall well-being. 

At the same time, digitalisation is disruptive, changing familiar structures and expectations of the economy, society and even politics, raising questions about new business models, about how and when regulators should intervene, and new policy challenges with regard to privacy, security, trust, consumer policy, competition, innovation, jobs and skills.  


the (digital) world we want

The speed of digitalisation has caught government, but also business and other societal actors off-guard. 

Strategies are developed in isolated policy silos, while we need to work together to develop new international, overarching ethical and societal frameworks and pro-active policies that allow the harnessing of digital technology to develop the world we want.

Strengthening digital security and privacy protection is essential to allow individuals, firms and governments to feel secure and unleash the benefits of 'going digital'.

Increasingly, decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are influenced not by humans, but by mathematical models, or algorithms.

They score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health.

Regulation needs to catch-up in order to address concerns that the mathematical models being used today are opaque, and in cases are reinforcing both inequality and discrimination. 


the future of work

Digitalisation is radically changing the type of jobs people need to train for and how, where and by whom these jobs will be done. 

There are many varying predictions on the number and kind of jobs affected, all stakeholders seek more certainty, and advice to be better prepared for this transition. 

The Forum allowed key stakeholders to share and explain their concerns, but also aimed to demonstrate how digital innovations will enable the creation of new - often yet unknown – jobs.

In this context the Forum focused on the importance of developing social security, unemployment, health and pension systems tailored to this new world of work, ensuring that people have the confidence and the resilience to make job switches and continue to invest in their skills throughout their lives.


21st century  skills

It is now essential to ensure that students are well prepared for a world in which they will constantly be adjusting to new technologies, new business models, and new ways of working. 

Skill development policies need to be overhauled for older age groups too to reduce the risk of increased unemployment, growing inequality and divisions between generations. 

More must also be done to encourage women and girls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) studies and careers, to allow them to benefit fully in the digital economy.


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