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TIV coauthors “Social Services for Digital Citizens: Opportunities for Latin America and the Caribbean” for the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

TIV was selected by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) to research the impact of the rapidly expanding digital economy on social sectors (e.g. health and social protection, labor markets, education, gender and diversity) culminating into the study, “Social Services for Digital Citizens: Opportunities for Lain America and the Caribbean” The undertaking was motivated by a recognition of the potential for the digital technologies to advance social well-being, and the accordant desire for Latin American and Caribbean governments to maintain pace with these technological advancements. The study is broken in down into two major sections: 1. The Key Building Blocks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and 2. The Main Social Sectors affected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In Section 1, TIV established the central technologies which guide the subsequent analysis and discussion: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Cloud Computing, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and a brief foray into other technologies of note (i.e. 3D Printing, Advanced Robotics, Mobile Internet and Social Networking). The central thesis is that these technologies will not only alter the social landscape, but some will disrupt the status quo, changing the way people live and work, in addition to rearranging the valence of cultural and societal ideals. The research group therefore urged that it is imperative for policy leaders to understand the nuances of these technologies and their individual and gross impacts, respectively.

In Section 2, TIV et al. incorporate the social sectors into the discussion, in addition to a detailed evaluation on the current and future impacts of these technologies in the context of the Latin America and Caribbean Region.

As a brief sample of the investigations findings, in the case of Artificial Intelligence, TIV elucidated 5 key considerations: 1. The importance of understanding what problems AI seeks to solve 2. Upon problem identification, the decision-making process behind data selection 3. The necessary “data-harvesting,” and the implications of the type and volume of data mining in light of ethical and technical perspectives. 4. Quality analysis of said data. 5. Protection and safe-guarding government, society and individuals in relation to AI interventions. The report painted a landscape of how these technologies have impacts on all scales. This includes the usage of case studies at the micro-level (e.g. how Emotional AI is being used for companionship or as a barometer of one’s emotional state), meso-level (e.g. how companies like Sony have introduced blockchain into academic records) and the macro-level (e.g. Uruguay’s implementation of Plan Ceibal in 2007 as one of the inaugural uses of national laptop distribution and digital education measures). Such foresight has had the fortunate side effect of contributing prophylaxis against the educational disruption caused by COVID-19. The report has been instrumental for the Latin American and Caribbean region as a roadmap for the future of the Digital Era.

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