The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online

The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online. Pew Research Internet Project. Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie. October 19, 2017

Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 92 pages, 892.12 KB].

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Did Technology Kill the Truth?

Did Technology Kill the Truth? Brookings Institution. Tom Wheeler. November 14, 2017

We carry in our pockets and purses the greatest democratizing tool ever developed. Never before has civilization possessed such an instrument of free expression.

Yet, that unparalleled technology has also become a tool to undermine truth and trust. The glue that holds institutions and governments together has been thinned and weakened by the unrestrained capabilities of technology exploited for commercial gain. The result has been to de-democratize the internet. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Digitalization and the American Workforce

Digitalization and the American Workforce. Brookings Institution. Mark Muro et al. November 2017

In recent decades, the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace, also known as “digitalization,” has been remaking the U.S. economy and the world of work. The “digitalization of everything” has at once increased the potential of individuals, firms, and society while also contributing to a series of troublesome impacts and inequalities, such as worker pay disparities across many demographics, and the divergence of metropolitan economic outcomes.

In light of that, this report presents a detailed analysis of changes in the digital content of 545 occupations covering 90 percent of the U.S. workforce in all industries since 2001. The analysis categorizes U.S. occupations into jobs that require high, medium or low digital skills and tracks the impacts of rapid change.
The full report concludes with implications of the key findings and suggests ways communities can work with firms and workers to spread the benefits of digitalization while mitigating its potentially harmful effects. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages, 2.98 MB].

Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technologies Underpin Citizen-Powered Democracy

Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technologies Underpin Citizen-Powered Democracy. RAND Corporation. Talitha Dubow et al. October 11, 2017

The report gives an overview of the discussions held as part of an expert consultation on how digital technologies can be used to support citizen-powered democracy. It summarises what participating experts considered the current situation to be, overviews the key benefits and challenges associated with the use of digital technologies in our democracy, and elaborates further on potential strategies for overcoming these challenges. The report also focuses on collective aspirations for the future, and presents the consultation group’s vision of what a digitally-supported citizen-powered democracy might look like, and what the characteristics of such a democracy would be. These include: strengthened transparency and trust in democratic processes; an improved informational environment for civic and political decision-making; and the existence of well-networked, empowered communities. Emerging ideas for what kinds of digital tools might support this vision are described, which includes ideas for the analysis, synthesis and presentation of data. Finally, the report concludes with some overarching reflections on the consultation discussions, focusing in particular on the role of different actors and stakeholders in contributing to this vision. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 296.93 KB].

Digital Learning: Education and Skills in the Digital Age

Digital Learning: Education and Skills in the Digital Age. RAND Corporation. Sarah Grand-Clement et al. October 11, 2017.

The report gives an overview of an expert consultation on the role and future of education and skills in the digital world. It looks at which skills are important and necessary to undertake the different types of jobs available, and what skills we need to be thinking of developing now and in the future. It explores how we ensure that people are not left out of the digital age and have access to education on digital skills. It looks at how we think about formal education and how our thinking needs to evolve with the increasing adoption of digital tools and technologies, particularly among the younger generation. The report proposes a preliminary framework to ensure an inclusive education in an increasingly digital world and suggests roles for different stakeholders to ensure that this becomes a reality. The consultation highlighted the important role of government and industry in encouraging the greater use of digital technologies in learning. However, it also recognises that the future should not be driven by technology. The report notes that role of the educator is not diminished by the increased adoption of digital technologies, with it being seen as an effective tool to make learning more adaptive and flexible. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages, 316.14 KB].

Digital Currency and the Future of Transacting

Digital Currency and the Future of Transacting. RAND Corporation. Katherine Stewart, Salil Gunashekar, Catriona Manville. August 30, 2017.

As digital technology creates new and different ways to transact we have witnessed the emergence of new forms of currency and transaction platforms to support different methods and types of value exchange. New methods of transaction could have wider economic and social implications with regard to the extent of government control over the economy; the structure of traditional models of tax, social security and pensions; and the role of individuals and communities in the wider financial system. Because the landscape of innovations in this sphere is broad and fast moving, thought should be given to the potential impact of these changes on wider society, and how they could be harnessed by government, communities and individuals for societal good. This perspective explores how digital platforms are changing the ways we transact and exchange value and the associated societal impact. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 171.86 KB].

Chasing Disaster: The Risks of Fast, Furious or Fake News

Chasing Disaster: The Risks of Fast, Furious or Fake News. YaleGlobal. Humphrey Hawksley. September 19, 2017

Disasters no longer seem like rare events with the internet and smartphones delivering instant, compelling stories for a global audience that is curious, observant and active on social media. Experiencing disaster, then being in the public eye, can be traumatic, and so Britain’s National Health Service has issued warnings about the risks of using social media after terrorist attacks or giving personal accounts to journalists. Most odious are false reports drafted to misdirect responsibility and create an atmosphere of mistrust. Both social media and journalism have been lifelines during the recent hurricanes and earthquake in the Americas, flooding in South Asia and the flight of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar after years of mistreatment. News reports are linked with increased aid and lessons in preparation, and Humphrey Hawksley urges fellow journalists and the public to keep three factors in mind when assessing disasters: sourcing, the reporter’s role and impact of disaster coverage. “News coverage of natural disasters and war have long been pivotal at tugging heart strings and forcing changes to government policy,” he concludes. “Journalism has always been laced with vested interests and advocacy. The danger today is the immediacy in which inaccuracy speeds around the world, fueling emotions and decisions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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