Is Australia falling behind in race to digital economy?

Highlights

  • A summary published by the Australian Academy of Science calls for a quick government action to prioritise emerging digital technologies.
  • Presently, digital innovation accounts for a mere 7.4% of Australia’s GDP.
  • It also suggests the government to support research and development in the digital space and recognise it as an independent growth sector.

According to the Australian Academy of Science, Australia is at the risk of falling behind in the technology world among technologically driven countries. Countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, etc., are already bumping up their investments in digital technologies to get the competitive edge in the emerging “digital economy”.

Coming back to the home country, without a stronger investment roadmap for digital infrastructure, it could be a laggard in the race towards a digital economy. Presently, digital innovation accounts for a mere 7.4% of Australia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), far less than the average of 11.2% of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

  Digital Transformation

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The summary published by the Australian Academy of Science calls for a quick government action to priorities emerging digital technologies. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled the adoption of digital technologies, the summary stresses the need to recognise this as an independent growth sector. It says, Australia’s Research Infrastructure Roadmap, for 2021 should include research and innovation in emerging digital technologies.

Is Australia falling behind in race to digital economy?

These emerging technologies include Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), etc. The summary also lays down the benefits other countries are enjoying in prioritising their investments in digital infrastructure.

Professor Shazia Sadiq, Chair of the National Committee for Information and Communication Sciences, says, “We call on the Australian Government to recognise the importance of building scientific capability behind the digital economy, both in investment and narrative”. He also said, “While it is difficult to predict what future innovations might look like, a strong national focus on fundamental science and engineering behind emerging digital technologies will allow Australia to stay ahead of the curve in a dynamic and fast-evolving landscape.”

The summary also says that the next wave of new technologies that would potentially incorporate 6G, self-driving vehicles, quantum computing will further disrupt and transform many sectors.

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Bottom Line

According to the Australian Academy of Science, Australia is lagging behind in the race to transforming into a digital economy and is behind developed nations such as the US, the UK, Canada, etc.

It also suggests the government to support research and development in the digital space and recognise it as an independent growth sector to aid Australia’s digital growth.

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