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How's Life in the Digital Age?

Opportunities and Risks of the Digital Transformation for People's Well-being

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This report documents how the ongoing digital transformation is affecting people’s lives across the 11 key dimensions that make up the How’s Life? Well-being Framework (Income and wealth, Jobs and earnings, Housing, Health status, Education and skills, Work-life balance, Civic engagement and governance, Social connections, Environmental quality, Personal security, and Subjective well-being). A summary of existing studies highlights 39 key impacts of the digital transformation on people’s well-being. The review shows that these impacts can be positive as digital technologies expand the boundaries of information availability and enhance human productivity, but can also imply risks for people’s well-being, ranging from cyber-bullying to the emergence of disinformation or cyber-hacking. In sum, making digitalisation work for people’s well-being would require building equal digital opportunities, widespread digital literacy and strong digital security. Continued research and efforts in improving statistical frameworks will be needed to expand our knowledge on the many topics covered in this report.

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How's life in the digital age in the United States?

Unfortunately, data limitations prevent a comprehensive analysis of the opportunities and risks of the digital transformation in the United States. In particular, data on a number of key digital risks is missing, making it difficult to assess to what extent people in the United States are exposed to the well-being risks of the digital transformation. In general, the United States has average outcomes in attaining key opportunities of the digital transformation. The United States boasts the highest returns to ICT tasks in the OECD, reflecting the high potential income gains of digital skills. While the share of the population with digital skills is around the average, the digital skills gap is comparatively small. The United States also faces a relatively low risk of job automation, with 10.2% of jobs estimated to be at a high risk of automation. However, Internet access and use in the United States falls behind most other OECD countries. More than a quarter of households do not have broadband Internet access, the fourth lowest share across the OECD. In addition, exposure to disinformation is relatively high, and 31% of Americans reports having encountered disinformation in the past week.

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