Skills lagging behind technology evolution

Dr Erik Brynjolfsson said countries around the world should follow the successful example of Dubai or risk inequality and a widening gap between technological and institutional capabilities.



By Staff Report

Published: Wed 11 Feb 2015, 12:32 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:25 PM

Kevin Kelly addressing the session titled ‘The Internet of Everything: How the Web will Transform Future Services’. -KT photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai — Dubai is a global leader in the successful implementation of high-tech infrastructure, director of MIT Centre for Digital Business Dr Erik Brynjolfsson said at The Government Summit on Monday.

Dr Brynjolfsson said rapid technological advances and increasingly capable devices have led to a “digital revolution” which can generate wealth and benefit all sectors of the economy.

Dr Brynjolfsson said countries around the world should follow the successful example of Dubai or risk inequality and a widening gap between technological and institutional capabilities.

“There is no doubt that we are living in an era of rapid change. The evolution of digital technologies has never been quicker and is only continuing to accelerate. Meanwhile, globally, our skills, organisations and institutions are often lagging behind and failing to adjust to the rapid progress,” he said. “Nations should follow the lead of Dubai in considering projects which benefit the economy and people across the full spectrum of society. Only by investing in the future will we avoid a situation where millions of people are left behind.”

Dr Brynjolfsson said technology can improve organisational and business performance and change the everyday lives of citizens, citing the example self-driving cars.

He said technology may have a significant impact on low-skilled workers and wages, as machines can perform such functions more economically.

‘Internet of everything’

Another speaker at the summit, Wired magazine’s executive director Kevin Kelly, said the “inevitable” move from hierarchical organisational structures to decentralised networks will change the dynamic of interactions between humans, and between humans and technology.

“Throughout history, there have been a number of inevitable shifts,” he said. “While we cannot predict the exact details of how we will get there or who will lead the way, there are a number of inevitable breakthroughs we can look forward to over the next 10 or 20 years.”

Kelly explained that the society has evolved — and will continue to evolve — in the direction of peer-to-peer networks where information flows more freely, which he called the age of “Internet of Everything”.

“Since the invention of the light bulb a century ago, we have added electricity to nearly every aspect of our lives,” he said. “Our next step will be to add connectivity and intelligence in the same way.

“Governments of the future must be as fluid and dynamic as the society they oversee has become.”

Kelly concluded that governments must work hard to keep pace with technology. “It’s time to believe the impossible ... because the greatest innovations of the next century haven’t even been imagined yet.” -news@khaleejtimes.com


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