News / Science & Technology

Global Technology Report Notes Increased Digital Divide

Co-author of the Global Technology Report Soumitra Dutta. (World Economic Forum/Ben Hider )
Co-author of the Global Technology Report Soumitra Dutta. (World Economic Forum/Ben Hider )
Adam Phillips
Cornell University and the World Economic Forum have released their 13th Global Information Technology Report 2014.  It ranks 148 of the world’s nations according to how effectively they use information and communication technology to increase their global economic competitiveness.     

For several years, Western nations have dominated the top spots in the report’s “Networked Readiness Index.”  It compares nations according to their degree of Internet connectivity, the ease of access by businesses, governments and individuals, and other factors.  Finland, Singapore, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway occupied the first five spots, while Switzerland, the United States, Hong Kong, Britain and South Korea were next.

Researchers also discovered that the gap between emerging and developed economies has widened, not narrowed, over the past year, even though access to technology like mobile phones and personal computers has vastly increased in the developing world over the same period.

“It’s not just the question of whether you have a mobile phone,” said Cornell University’s Soumitra Dutta, who co-founded the report, and co-edited this year’s edition. "But does the environment in the country, does the educational system in the country, does the political and business environment in the country support the use of technology to create new economic value?"

Some countries maintained their position or moved up slightly in their relative ranking; but that simply isn’t good enough in today’s world of information technology, according to Jeff Campbell of Cisco, a multinational corporation specializing in computer networking.

“Everybody is improving their infrastructure," he said. "Everybody is improving their business utilization and their government utilization of technology, and the countries that aren’t running fast aren’t going to keep up with everybody else.  It’s very real because this is about competitiveness for the future, not only in the IT industry, but also in everything."

Campbell pointed to the growing so-called “Internet of Things,” in which computers connect and direct tools in physical, non-cyber domains, such as farming, "where you can uses sensors in agriculture that will be in the fields that will tell you how much moisture there is in the soil, how much nitrogen, whether you need to re-fertilize, whether you need to water.”  Campbell added that, in a world with less water, using the water resources and agriculture more efficiently will provide higher yields and lower costs and be better for the environment.

“That takes technology. Places that adopt, that are going to be more efficient and more effective, it’s going to improve their economy and change that world,” he said.

Campbell said this applies to the factory as well as the farm.  “If you can use data and sensors about where your inventory is, where your orders are coming from in order to automatically ensure you have the right supplies to manufacture in the right ways, you’re going to be more efficient and you’re going to win in the marketplace globally.”

The report also found disparities within regions and even within nations.  This also was true within large economies like the U.S., where the economic disparity between people working in high-tech businesses and those in traditional jobs has generally widened.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs