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OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2024 (Volume 1): Embracing the Technology Frontier

The OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2024 (Volume 1) provides an in-depth look at the fast-paced advancements in digital technologies that reshape our economy and society. Central to this transformation is the ICT sector, which has grown three times faster than the overall economy in the past decade, driven by innovations in big data and machine learning.

Moreover, the report identifies artificial intelligence (AI) as a significant force for future productivity and scientific progress. However, it also highlights the accompanying risks related to trust, fairness, and privacy, emphasising the need for responsible AI development and comprehensive national AI strategies. Next-generation wireless networks, including 5G, are closely linked to these advancements, essential for handling the vast amounts of data generated by new technologies. These networks provide high-quality internet access, particularly in rural areas, thereby helping to bridge connectivity divides.

The report also addresses the uneven adoption of digital technologies across various sectors and demographics. It calls for policies that ensure equitable access and digital skills development to promote inclusive growth. In addition, immersive technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) are explored for their potential to create unique experiences, though they also present risks. The report emphasises the importance of privacy and safety measures, especially for vulnerable groups.

Lastly, the impact of digital environments on mental health is discussed, with a focus on the rising negative behaviours online that mainly affect girls. The report underscores the need for balanced and safe use of digital technologies.

The report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1 provides data and forecasts about the growth of the ICT sector

  • Chapter 2 examines current and expected trends in AI development

  • The first Spotlight gives an overview of emerging trends in next-generation wireless networks

  • Chapter 3 analyses issues and relative solutions about inclusivity and productivity in digital technologies and data

  • Chapter 4 showcases the benefits and the downsides of Virtual Reality

  • The second Spotlight analyses the link between digital environments and negative behaviours