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Digital Futures

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Abstract in English: 
In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.
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24
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The future evolution of civil society in the European Union by 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Abstract in English: 
This publication provides an analysis of the main challenges faced by civil society organisations (CSOs), of the trends and drivers of change and of the future prospects for relations between policy-makers at the national and European level and CSOs. It was developed with the purpose of examining what might await European CSOs in the next 13 years until 2030, what are the main challenges and how these should be tackled. Based on desk research of recent analyses and studies, series of interviews with representatives of academia, European and national CSO platforms and members of EESC and pan-European survey, it identifies major societal trends that have been most affecting European CSOS in the last five years : demographic changes, economic crisis, digitalisation, populism and shrinking of civic space. This overview is accompanied by strategies recommended for CSOs and the EU and national public authorities.
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66
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Skills and lifelong learning: final report

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 27, 2017
Abstract in English: 
This report brings together evidence about skills and lifelong learning, discussing the barriers and the implications for the UK. This evidence will help government to develop the policies needed to adapt to a changing workforce.
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112
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Rethinking Cybersecurity

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Despite all the attention, cyberspace is far from secure. Why this is so reflects conceptual weaknesses as much as imperfect technologies. Two questions highlight shortcomings in the discussion of cybersecurity. The first is why, after more than two decades, we have not seen anything like a cyber Pearl Harbor, cyber 9/11, or cyber catastrophe, despite constant warnings. The second is why, despite the increasing quantity of recommendations, there has been so little improvement, even when these recommendations are implemented.
These questions share an answer: the concepts underlying cybersecurity are an aggregation of ideas conceived in a different time, based on millennial expectations about governance and international security. Similarly, the internet of the 1990s has become “cyber,” a portmanteau term that encompassed the broad range of global economic, political, and military activities transformed by the revolution created by digital technologies.
If our perceptions of the nature of cybersecurity are skewed, so are our defenses. This report examines the accuracy of our perceptions of cybersecurity. It attempts to embed the problem of cyber attack (not crime or espionage) in the context of larger strategic calculations and effects. It argues that policies and perceptions of cybersecurity are determined by factors external to cyberspace, such as political trends affecting relations among states, by thinking on the role of government, and by public attitudes toward risk.
We can begin to approach the problem of cybersecurity by defining attack. While public usage calls every malicious action in cyberspace an attack, it is more accurate to define attacks as those actions using cyber techniques or tools for violence or coercion to achieve political effect. This places espionage and crime in a separate discussion (while noting that some states use crime for political ends and rampant espionage creates a deep sense of concern among states).
Cyber attack does not threaten crippling surprise or existential risk. This means that the incentives for improvement that might motivate governments and companies are, in fact, much smaller than we assume. Nor is cyber attack random and unpredictable. It reflects national policies for coercion and crime. Grounding policy in a more objective appreciation of risk and intent is a first step toward better security.
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50
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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: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
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.
The impact of new digital technologies on the labor market has led to the coining of the phrase “technological unemployment,” which describes a view of how the industrialization of the workplace may play out. However, that perspective ignores the other side of the technological coin, which is that automation also creates jobs and brings a positive economic impact from its ability to boost innovation and productivity, and offers advances in fields including healthcare, retail and security.
This report is an attempt to provide a long-term view of how that balance may develop, based on scenarios of how digital automation and AI will shape the workplace, and calibrated to sensitivities around the economy, productivity, job creation and skills.
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72
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OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2017

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Abstract in English: 
The biennial OECD Digital Economy Outlook examines and documents evolutions and emerging opportunities and challenges in the digital economy. It highlights how OECD countries and partner economies are taking advantage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet to meet their public policy objectives. Through comparative evidence, it informs policy makers of regulatory practices and policy options to help maximise the potential of the digital economy as a driver for innovation and inclusive growth.
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325
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Global Trendometer - Essays on medium- and long-term global trends

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, September 4, 2017
Abstract in English: 
The European Union has come through difficult years. A succession of crises, often interlinked, have been the major concern of European leaders for much of the past decade. This experience has driven home the lesson that prevention is better than the cure, and that more can be done to identify and prepare for future challenges. The EU as a whole has worked to enhance its foresight capacity, notably through the work of the inter-institutional ESPAS process. For its part, the European Parliament is placing greater emphasis on agenda-setting and on horizon scanning, both to support its work in shaping the future through legislation and to improve the quality of public policy discussion of key challenges and choices ahead.
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62
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The Digital Future of Brain Health

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, December 5, 2016
Abstract in English: 
What is the benefit of digital technology in healthcare for the brain? What is the likelihood the benefit will reach the people who need it most? In this report, the outgoing World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Brain Research review five emerging themes in digital technology that may impact brain health.
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10
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Values and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Connecting the Dots Between Value, Values, Profit and Purpose

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 14, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Today, society faces the mammoth task of creating 1.5 billion new livelihoods by 2050 while at the same time exceeding the planet’s crucial ecological limits. With the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, human progress may either suffer through a catastrophic setback or experience a positive transformation. What will make the difference? Values.
The core values of human dignity, common good and stewardship have been widely endorsed over the centuries. Systemic change based on these values aims to meet people’s basic needs, with greatly reduced inequalities and in environments allowing individuals to thrive and live in peace. The required leadership and an understanding of the changes under way across all sectors are low demands compared to the need to rethink economic, social and political systems to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A common values-driven direction is clearly needed.
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36
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Into the Clouds: European SMEs and the Digital Age

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Cloud computing, which relies on automatically available services, including storage, that can be shared among devices, is considered crucial to the digital transformation of industry and the economy. But fundamental questions remain on the role of cloud computing in Europe and the best strategies for fostering the conditions necessary for a barrier-free transatlantic digital economy. Is cloud computing being used to its optimum advantage across Europe, and how does that usage differ from country to country? What are the motivations behind cloud adoption—or behind the failure to adopt? And finally, what effect does the adoption of new forms of digital technology have on small and medium enterprises (SMEs)? Into the Clouds: European SMEs and the Digital Age, authored by Tyson Barker, addresses these and other questions.
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22
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