Communities should cultivate and draw on their capacity to use data and technology to benefit residents with the fewest resources. From 2014 to 2018, the Civic Tech and Data Collaborative brought together local government officials, civic technologists, and data intermediaries across seven communities to explore how to harness data and technology to benefit low-income residents. Drawing on the local experiences, the three guiding national organizations – Living Cities, Code for America, and the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership – share advice on engaging low-income residents, mobilizing for collective action, resourcing collaboratives, and sustaining the gains achieved.
As part of the initiative, local collaboratives in Boston, St. Louis, and Washington, DC created products that use data and technology in new ways to improve services or programs in their cities. To access the three case studies, ecosystem mapping guide, and other project resources, visit https://www.neighborhoodindicators.org/ctdc.[Note: contains copyrighted material].
The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution offer unprecedented avenues to improve quality of life, advance society, and contribute to global economic growth. Yet along with greater prospects for human advancement and progress, advancements in these technologies have the potential to be dramatically disruptive, threatening existing assumptions around national security, rules for international cooperation, and a thriving global commerce. This report by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) addresses emerging technologies in key areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and explores innovative ways by which the United States and the Republic of Korea can cooperate around advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics; biotechnology; and the Internet of Things. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Since the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, society has organized efforts to limit the magnitude of climate change around the concept of stabilization — that is, accepting some climate change but holding it within acceptable bounds. This report offers an initial exploration of the concept of climate restoration — that is, approaches that seek to return atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to preindustrial levels within one to two generations. Using a simple integrated assessment model, the analysis examines climate restoration through the lens of risk management under conditions of deep uncertainty, exploring the technology, economic, and policy conditions under which it might be possible to achieve various climate restoration goals and the conditions under which society might be better off with (rather than without) a climate restoration goal. This report also explores near-term actions that might help manage the risks of climate restoration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Is automation a labor-displacing force? This possibility is both an age-old concern and at the heart of a new theoretical literature considering how labor immiseration may result from a wave of “brilliant machines,” which is in part motivated by declining labor shares in many developed countries. Comprehensive evidence on this labor-displacing channel is at present limited. Harnessing a model from Acemoglu and Restrepo (2018), the authors first outline the various channels through which automation impacts labor’s share of output. They then turn to empirically estimating the employment and labor share impacts of productivity growth—an omnibus measure of technological change—using data on 28 industries for 18 OECD countries since 1970. Their main findings are that although automation has not been employment-displacing, it has reduced labor’s share in value added. They disentangle the channels through which these impacts come about by considering both the effects occurring within the advancing industry and spillovers onto the industry’s suppliers and customers, and by separately estimating the wage, output, and price responses to automation. Their estimates highlight that the labor share-displacing effects of productivity growth, which were absent in the 1970s, have become more pronounced over time, largely because of a weakening wage response. This finding is consistent with automation having become less labor-augmenting over time. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
This CRS report provides context for the Administration’s Climate Science Special Report (October 2017) by tracing the evolution of scientific understanding and confidence regarding the drivers of recent global climate change.
Amid the clamor around bitcoin’s ascendant (now descendant) value, the potential of a far greater contributor to society has been clouded. Bitcoin—which has in recent months been both the godsend and the bane of speculative investors around the world—is made possible by its underlying blockchain technology. Lauded as a technological innovation on the same magnitude as the internet, blockchains at their simplest are diffuse electronic ledgers that garner efficiency, transparency, and remarkable security through a decentralized structure. You don’t have to understand everything about the underlying technology to see how such a system could have a significant impact on our lives.
Blockchains are now being adopted globally for things as diverse as smart contracts, property rights, health care, and humanitarian assistance. But, blockchains also have enormous potential to revolutionize the way elections are conducted. If implemented correctly, such systems could mobilize new electorates, increase voter participation, reduce election violence, and make elections more secure and reliable than ever before. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Improvement in living standards over time is not inevitable or automatic. Rather, it is made possible by increases in physical and human capital, technological progress that itself might require large investments, and well-designed institutions. In this set of eleven economic facts, the authors explore central features of the innovation system, including patents, research and development (R&D) investments, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Following this analysis, they highlight opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the innovation system, thereby contributing to faster technological progress and economic growth. [Note: contains copyrighted material].