About the Program

The increased global integration of technology, data, and internet connectivity has fueled the emergence of the digital age. However, the full potential of the digital age is yet to be unlocked as significant levels of the population are on the negative side of the digital and data divides. These divides represent the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology and data versus those that have limited or no access. Populations that do not have access to the internet or do not have digital literacy skills are more likely to become disenfranchised and disadvantaged, a phenomenon that can lead to increasing social and monetary inequity. This inequity disproportionally affects rural communities, older adults, racial and ethnic minority populations, and/or low-income populations. Even among the empowered, there are silos and other barriers, including geopolitical tensions, that prevent data from being used to maximum advantage for public and societal benefit. Moreover, gaps and biases within data can lead to both intended and unintended adverse effects.

As a leader in emerging technology and data policy, the GeoTech Center is concentrating efforts on bridging the digital and data divide, by advocating for the training of a new, more inclusive generation of professionals, new data governance structures, and for policies that will positively affect the distribution of access and control over data and digital tools across societies. Additionally, as new technologies continue to emerge it will be imperative to identify smart partners that can bridge the gap between technologically vulnerable populations and technology developers. The construction of such smart partnerships will be crucial in the next decade to ensure the future of work in a digital society.

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