How's life in the digital age?

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.

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. These 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
  • subjective well-being

Data-driven innovation: Big data for growth and well-being

Today, the generation and use of huge volumes of data are redefining our “intelligence” capacity and our social and economic landscapes, spurring new industries, processes and products, and creating significant competitive advantages. In this sense, data-driven innovation (DDI) has become a key pillar of 21st-century growth, with the potential to significantly enhance productivity, resource efficiency, economic competitiveness, and social well-being.

Greater access to and use of data create a wide array of impacts and policy challenges, ranging from privacy and consumer protection to open access issues and measurement concerns, across public and private health, legal and science domains. The report Data-driven Innovation: Big Data for Growth and Well-being aims to improve the evidence base on the role of DDI for promoting growth and well-being, and provide policy guidance on how to maximise the benefits of DDI and mitigate the associated economic and societal risks.

Using data for stronger health systems

Modern health care systems produce mountains of electronic data, which are now also generated outside health care systems as most aspects of human activity and interaction become digitalised in the modern global economy. The information potentially residing in these data can be very useful to promote health and improve health care.

Health in the 21st Century: Putting Data to Work for Stronger Health Systems explores how data and digital technology can help achieve policy objectives and drive positive transformation in the health sector while managing new risks such as privacy, equity and implementation costs. 

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Dementia and big data

OECD countries are developing strategies to improve the quality of life of those affected by dementia and to support long-term efforts for a disease-modifying therapy or cure. 

The report Dementia Research and Care: Can Big Data Help? follows a workshop that aimed to advance international discussion of the opportunities and challenges, as well as successful strategies, for sharing and linking the massive amounts of population-based health and health care data that are routinely collected (broad data) with detailed clinical and biological data (deep data) to create an international resource for research, planning, policy development, and performance improvement. The workshop sought to provide new insights into the opportunities and challenges in making “broad and deep” data a reality – from funding to data standards, to data sharing, to new analytics, to protecting privacy, and to engaging with stakeholders and the public.