SEOUL - The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to a digital economy, which will hold the key to future growth and opportunities. This is why, as we prepare for the post-pandemic era, we must acknowledge that the digital economy’s potentially limitless benefits will not be equally distributed unless we take the right steps now.
Mobile devices, the Internet, cloud computing, and other innovations have created a hyper-connected global space in which billions of people can work and pursue more dynamic ways of life. Digital platforms have changed the way we consume, work, and create economic value, and digital assets such as computers, communications equipment, and software have helped firms reduce production costs and enhance efficiency.
The digital transformation will continue to accelerate with the wider adoption of Big Data and the convergence of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as fifth-generation wireless networks (5G), artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT). The pandemic has already prompted businesses to accelerate “the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years,” according to a study by New-York-based global management consultancy McKinsey & Company.
Whether the benefits of this acceleration will extend beyond businesses to workers and consumers is a burning issue. By making old technologies, processes, and even entire industries obsolete, digitization will continue to cause job losses. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 “Future of Jobs Report” predicts that many private companies will employ machines and algorithms more broadly than ever, blighting employment prospects across sectors and regions. AI, robots, and other new technologies could threaten 15 percent of the average company’s workforce by as soon as 2025.
Given such effects, the digitalThe content herein is subject to copyright by Project Syndicate. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.