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Digital Economy

ESPAS Report 2019 : Global Trends to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019
Abstract in English: 
For something as unknown as the future, it appears to have become surprisingly predictable. A Google search of ‘future 2030’ yields more than 97 million results, all more or less claiming similar things: that 2030 will see a more connected, yet fragmented world, with hazardous shifts in demography and energy, and dangerous changes in technology, environment, and politics.
The future, while overall negative, appears to be a rather certain place.
This illusion of definitiveness is created by two dynamics: first, the pessimistic tone that runs through the vast majority of foresight reports. This is a common feature when it comes to future thinking, with one study showing that all studies undertaken on the future over the last 70 years have one thing in common; pessimism. The reason for this is simple: although both optimism and pessimism are natural human dispositions, the latter is more prevalent by far. Humans are, genetically speaking, biased towards the negative – some studies even indicate that this is particularly the case for Europeans. Second, pessimism in foresight is encouraged by the grave air that surrounds it: in general, negative statements are given more attention than positive ones. That said, more pessimism in foresight does not equal greater accuracy, as one study shows.
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52
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The Impact of the EU’s New Data Protection Regulation on AI

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The EU’s new data privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will have a negative impact on the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe, putting EU firms at a competitive disadvantage compared with their competitors in North America and Asia. The GDPR’s AI-limiting provisions do little to protect consumers, and may, in some cases, even harm them. The EU should reform the GDPR so that these rules do not tie down its digital economy in the coming years.
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37
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The Task Ahead of Us - Transforming the Global Economy With Connectivity, Automation, and Intelligence

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, January 7, 2019
Abstract in English: 
Economies are complex production systems with myriad subcomponent production systems—that is, industries—from manufacturing to health care to retail. What and how these production systems produce is grounded in technology. So, as technologies change, production systems change—around the world. Today, the most important and widely shared technologies are digital information technologies that have evolved from the mainframe and mini-computing systems of the 1960s and 70s. They include an array of personal computing devices, back-office servers, IT-embedded machines, and cloud-based services that are connected or dynamically provisioned to users over private networks or the Internet. But the world is now beginning to transform into a new kind of digital system, one that will not only build on existing devices and systems, but also increasingly will incorporate emerging technologies such as sensors, robotics, and artificial intelligence as they improve in price and performance. This next digital economy will be significantly more connected (with many more things, and many more types of things networked, including in more advanced wireless, satellite, and wireline networks), more automated (as devices and systems enable more work to be done by machines), and smarter (as algorithms play increasingly important roles in sensing—and making sense of—all this).
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24
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Digitally-enabled automation and artificial intelligence: Shaping the future of work in Europe’s digital front-runners

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, October 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Technology in many ways is perfectly conceived to operate in the workplace, bringing an ability to operate around the clock at increasing levels of accuracy and productivity. Since the Industrial Revolution, machines have been the ideal colleague, performing some of the most mind-numbing tasks and freeing up human partners to do more interesting and productive things. However, in the near future, new digital technologies are set to take the next step, graduating from the factory floor to the boardroom and applying themselves to more complex, cognitive activities. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are a game changer for automation in the workplace. Like ambitious young go-getters, they promise to take on more responsibility and make better decisions, and the implications for workers, companies, and policy makers are significant and pressing.
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72
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The Future of EU ATM Markets

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
Abstract in English: 
ATMs constitute a critical component in today’s infrastructure for facilitating cash payments. However, ongoing digitalisation (cashless payments, e-commerce and online banking) is challenging the role of ATMs and putting pressure on the cash infrastructure in the EU. The shift from cash to cashless payments reduces the need for cash withdrawals and the rise of online banking challenges the bank branch as the traditionally most prevalent location for ATMs. Moreover, the introduction of pricing policies might also change the dynamics in EU ATM markets. Transparency and price caps on the so-called dynamic currency conversion (DCC) as well as potential reductions in interchange fees will put pressure on the revenues of certain ATMs.
Against this background, this report assesses the sensitivity of EU ATM markets to ongoing digitalisation and pricing policies. The impact of these developments is assessed across business models in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, which are representative of the ATM markets in all EU member states.
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135
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The Digital Enterprise: moving from experimentation to transformation

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Abstract in English: 
While enormous resources are being spent on digital transformation programs by the private sector, the results are underwhelming. According to estimates, this year over $1.2 trillion will be spent by companies worldwide on their digital transformation efforts and yet analysis suggests that only 1% of these efforts will actually achieve or exceed their expectations. The Digital Enterprise: Moving from experimentation to transformation is a practical guide on how to envision, structure, and sequence successful digital transformation efforts. It is an effort by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Bain & Company, to help senior executives avoid common patterns of failure and ask the right questions.
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46
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The future of retail banking: Platforms will increasingly occupy the customer interface

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The platform economy is revolutionizing the banking sector – technology providers and FinTechs are increasingly occupying the customer interface. Retail banks must reposition themselves: Instead of the mostly universal business model they operate now, they need to decide where their future focus will lie. Will they be relationship expert, product expert or technology provider?
Online platforms reach millions of people, enabling more and more products and services to find their way to the customer. This also applies increasingly to financial products, where platform operators are becoming serious competition for retail banks. Thus, banks face a fundamental decision: Do they position themselves in the future at the customer interface and actively design platforms or should they focus on primarily being product providers? Currently most banks are busy digitalizing their existing business model – without any sign of real innovation.
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28
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Another lost decade? Building a skills system for the economy of the 2030s

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Abstract in English: 
The UK economy is set to undergo significant change in the coming years. The impact of rapidly advancing technology, an ageing population and exiting the EU will leave our economy looking very different by 2030. Having an effectively functioning adult skills system will be crucial if we are to manage the impact of these trends, to shape them and to turn them to our advantage. However, there is serious cause for concern that our adult skills system is not fit for purpose today, let alone fit to face the challenges ahead. In this report, we set out an approach to adult skills that would better meet the needs of learners, employers and the economy in the future.
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94
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Building the workforce of the future: Learning from Grow with Google

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, June 25, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Digital skills are vital for individuals and national economies to prosper in a rapidly-changing world, benefiting from the opportunities of digital and remaining resilient to potential risks. More than 90 per cent of jobs in some categories now demand digital skills. Yet in 2016, just 56 per cent of Europeans had adequate digital skills for the world they live in, and 37 per cent of the workforce lacked adequate digital skills. In this project we examined the development and approach of Grow with Google, a project which operates through national programmes matched closely to the contexts and needs of individual countries, in six case study countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Nigeria) in order to identify key themes and learning to support ongoing good practice in growing a digital skills ecosystem.
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60
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Two futures and how to reconcile them

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 3, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Although there is little argument about the fact that climate change and the digitalisation of the economy are the two main trends that will matter most over the coming decades, to date they have predominantly been considered separately rather than together. The first step towards shaping our future is being able to think about it, however, and the compartmentalisation of research efforts (climate change on the one hand and digitalisation on the other) is unhelpful in this respect. Yet cross-cutting investigations present a challenge since the academic communities and social dynamics underlying both fields of research are entirely distinct. The aim of this Foresight Brief is therefore merely to initiate a debate by analysing the different versions of these two narratives. The author then examines the potential interrelation and ranking of these narratives and explores the emergence of digital and green capitalism and its consequences. The publication concludes by proposing a scenario involving a two-step approach to change.
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11
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