The huge growth in technology has created digital inequality. We live in an age of amazing tech, but not everyone knows how to use it to their advantage. The trends are clear: In 2017, we’re going to be more connected on more devices creating more data than ever in human history. But what does it mean for us? And what does it mean for the economy? According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, some people and companies are benefiting enormously from the digitization of America. And some people… are being left behind.
Sree Ramaswamy, a senior fellow at McKinsey’s research arm said, “What those at the forefront have, from companies to consumers, is a much better grasp of what’s available or what can be done. There are some institutions, industries, consumers and workers that are doing a lot better. They are seeing disproportionate gains –and we see a gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-mores,’ which runs counter to a narrative of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nones.’”
The challenge with this sort of research is there’s no single, standard definition of what it means to be “digitized.” Ramaswamy said, “Some of it’s about having a smartphone or broadband connection or a computer, but it’s much more than just owning an asset. We’ve got smartphones. But how many people know how to effectively use them? Or how to maximize the ability to get discounts on different kinds of things?”
That’s where this all comes back to people. McKinsey’s research confirms that the digital gap at the individual level is tied to not only income and education but also a knowledge and ability to effectively use the Internet and devices that connect to it. While the vast majority of the country now has some kind of access to the Internet, 15% of U.S. citizens still don’t use the Internet at all, which means that millions of people are being left behind.
“It’s not just about whether I have a broadband connection or smartphone, but the different ways I can use these new tools,” said Ranaswamy. “You can call it digital awareness or digital literacy.” As the on-demand economy expands into more industries, these kinds of digital skills will be crucial for people hoping to find new opportunities as more and more workers are displaced through efficiency and automation.
This is a challenge that’s going to face the next president in January 2017, as software starts eating into white-collar jobs in the 21st century the way advanced manufacturing affected blue-collar jobs last century. McKinsey’s conservative projection of jobs displaced by automation in the U.S. economy over the next decade is 10 million workers.
Read Article (Alexander Howard | huffingtonpost.com | 12/17/2015)
This is reality, a reality of providing for individual and family wellbeing. Digital literacy has entered a crisis stage but many choose to down-play its impact on society. This outstanding article speaks to the basis of our campaign and whether they realize it or not, millions ask you to support it.
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