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Digital divide costing world billions of dollars in lost GDP each year: Study

The report resurfaced the need for upskilling amid the rise of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 15:40 IST

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New Delhi: Chronic technological gaps are costing the world billions annually, and AI may worsen the issue, a study warned, highlighting the need for bridging the digital divide to boost productivity and economic growth.

IT firm HP on Wednesday released a study in collaboration with Oxford Economics, which surveyed 1,036 C-suite executives and about 100 government officials from each country.

"About one-third of the global population remains offline, costing the world billions of dollars in lost GDP each year. The digital divide has been growing since the advent of technology, and AI could exacerbate these disparities if intentional action isn't taken," the study revealed.

The survey, conducted from October to November 2023, covered 10 countries: the United States, France, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Canada.

"We know technology can be a great equaliser and a powerful tool to drive progress. Yet, to truly narrow the digital divide in our rapidly evolving world, we must also equip individuals with the skills to use technology," said Michele Malejki, HP Global Head of Social Impact, and HP Foundation Director.

The report resurfaced the need for upskilling amid the rise of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).

"Both business and government officials report lack of skills as a top barrier to meeting key organisational goals, only economic volatility ranked higher," it said.

Three of four leaders (76 per cent) believe technology is key to expanding economic opportunity and that AI will help drive progress towards sustainability and social impact goals, the report further said.

"Business leaders are either already using AI or plan to in the next 1-2 years for goals such as increasing access to digital education (90 per cent), workforce development (89 per cent), and workforce diversity (86 per cent)," it noted.

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Published 12 June 2024, 15:40 IST

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