Digital Divides – Preventing rising inequalities in the digital age

Digital divides take many different forms. Digital infrastructure and the skills to make use of digital technologies are not equally distributed across the globe, hence creating a divide with regard to the opportunities to actually make use of digital technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity to learn and work from home has highlighted the divide even more. But digitalization itself also creates other divides: Missing regulation of platforms, while offering opportunities for remote workers to participate in global value chains, creates a divide between workers in regular and atypical (platform) employment. Artificial Intelligence, algorithms based on data collected by data aggregators, can filter the information one receives and hence contribute to the polarization of opinions. In short, digitalization can aggravate inequalities substantially. Either because digitalization leaves some people without access behind, or because it systematically discriminates certain groups. Given the importance of digital technology in today’s world and to tap its potential to foster development and progress, we must remove obstacles to benefit from digitalization and prevent inequalities arising from it. This session addresses different digital divides and policies to narrow them.

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