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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora