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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More