OECD Digital Economic Outlook 2024: Meaningful Trends & Key Technologies

Publication analyzes OECD nations for a holistic snapshot of the digital landscape

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published Volume 1 of its 2024 Digital Economic Outlook (DEO)—Embracing the Technology Frontier—which examines trends in technology, policy and performance related to the digital society. Its analysis of OECD nations illustrates how the choices we make around key technologies directly influence societies and economies.

The Ministry of State's Department for Media, Connectivity and Digital Policy (SMC) represents Luxembourg on the OECD's Committee for Digital Policy, which is at the origin of this DEO publication. Additionally, the SMC coordinates Luxembourg stakeholders' input for DEO's surveys.

Volume 1 shone a light on five distinct topics:

I) ICT sector

The study recognizes the ICT sector as the core pillar of digitalization, with growth over the past decade measuring 3x faster than the total economy of OECD countries. The sector experienced growth in most of OECD nations, although Luxembourg was not included in the analysis due to challenges in classifying ICT investments in relation to the country’s GDP. The report details the innovative nowcasting methodologies used to measure ICT sector growth. In noteworthy trends, it listed high-altitude platform stations (flying base stations), which show potential for bringing connectivity to rural areas, and satellite-based connectivity solutions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ICT sector uses AI technology more than any other sector (28% in 2023).

2) Artificial Intelligence

Generative AI capabilities took the world by storm in 2022, advancing far enough to make it difficult for people to distinguish between AI-generated and human-generated content. Many of the publication’s predictions for AI align with what the mainstream might expect—that it brings major implications, both positive and negative. It has the potential to boost economic growth and productivity, accelerate scientific progress and improve healthcare. Currently, AI plays a significant part in national policy agendas. Regarding digital skills, Luxembourg “attracted more AI talent than they lost in 2022” (Figure 2.7). Gender gaps remain, with men twice as likely to work in an AI role and report AI skills than women.

3) Technology Diffusion

Digital technology and digital skills have diffused unevenly throughout society, limiting their potential and hindering digital inclusion. Internet use remains limited to certain age groups, education levels and income levels. Cloud computing and IoT technology have been widely adopted, but big data analytics, AI and other data-dependent technologies have diffused at a much slower rate. The publication suggests that governments offer user-centric, inclusive online services and invest in digital skills and digital inclusion.

4) Virtual Reality

The Digital Economic Outlook recommends that VR continue focusing on providing value in areas that fall under the “dangerous, impossible, counterproductive or expensive” (DICE) framework, such as training for firefighters. Downsides of VR include risks to the cognitive and behavioral development of children, overuse and addiction. VR mainly finds applications in self-contained VR (e.g. video games), social VR platforms and VR in industry (for example testing a product in a realistic setting before sending it to production).

5) Mental Health

Digital environments lead to behavioral norms that can cause extensive harm. “Anonymity, disembodiment and disinhibition” are largely to blame for the types of interactions unique to online environments. Cyberbullying is linked to mental health issues and negative behaviors in digital environments are growing, disproportionately affecting girls. 


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