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Tech for Good: Using technology to smooth disruption and improve well-being

This discussion paper, the latest in our ongoing research on the impact of technology on business and society, is an attempt to understand both the positive and negative effects in more detail and to examine and evaluate ways in which new and mostly digital and smart technologies could potentially enhance welfare and soften disruptive transitions in advanced economies. For the research, we compiled a library of about 600 use cases of technology applications that contribute to well-being, especially in relation to key societal challenges such as job security, health, and equal opportunities. More than 60 percent of these cases use some AI capabilities. We then developed a comprehensive welfare model of technology adoption that quantifies technology impacts beyond pure GDP. It incorporates critical dimensions of inequality, risk aversion to unemployment, leisure, and health and longevity, building on recent economic literature on welfare and well-being. Using this model, we conducted a simulation of welfare outcomes that enables us to compare the contribution of the new generation of technologies to previous generations and to identify key priorities for moving toward what we call a “Tech for better lives” outcome.