On March 25, 2021, a round table meeting was held at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), which examined various aspects of digitalization, the advantages and challenges associated with the widespread use of digital technologies.
Opening remarks were made by Igor Sevastyanov, deputy head of the RISS Research coordination center.
Further, the participants discussed the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector, the contribution of digital technologies to ensuring competitiveness and increasing labor productivity, as well as the possible negative consequences of the introduction of digital technologies for the economy and society. The experts paid special attention to the risks associated with the digitalization process, which may pose a threat to the national interests of individual countries.
In particular, academician Vladimir Betelin, scientific director of the Federal Scientific Center “Research Institute for System Research” of the Russian Academy of Sciences, spoke about the risks of global digitalization of strategically important facilities in Russia (in the videoconference mode).
Director of the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (CEMI RAS), professor Albert Bakhtizin also made a remote report on the topic “Digital technologies and issues of national security.”
Ivan Danilin, head of the Science and innovation department of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, made a remote presentation on the impact of Internet platforms on inclusive growth and small business.
Nikolai Akhapkin, head of the Center for socio-economic development at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, spoke about the risks and benefits of the digital transformation of the Russian labor market.
Mikhail Belyaev, the leading expert of the Center for coordination research of RISS, highlighted the topic “International trade in the context of digitalization”.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of the Information Society (IIS), full member of the Russian Engineering Academy, member of the Bureau of the Section “Information Systems, Computing and Electronic Engineering, Communications and Telecommunications” Yuri Hohlov, together with IIS general director Tatiana Ershova, remotely discussed approaches to monitoring digital transformation of the economy sectors, social sectors and public administration and the first results of such monitoring.
The authors noted the importance of studying not only digital transformation processes, but also their impact on socio-economic development. This impact does not become noticeable immediately and does not always have a direct relationship with the effort and the investment made. For example, the first approaches to the development of artificial intelligence technologies were developed in the middle of the last century, but we were able to take advantage of the results only today thanks to the emergence of networks, powerful computers, tools for working with data, and the development of competencies. And we will be able to observe the effects after a while, although some are already noticeable. Likewise, the effects of other cross-cutting technologies, some of which we call “disruptive”, will emerge at a time when these technologies reach a certain level of maturity and begin to be widely used.
Since the launch of the digital economy development program in our country, IIS, together with its partners, began to actively deal with the problems of monitoring the development and use of digital technologies. At the forefront was the question: what influences these processes make and what dividends can be derived from this for the economy and society.
In March 2017, the World Bank took the initiative to develop a methodology for assessing the level of development of the digital economy in the country and to test this methodology on the example of Russia. The initiative was supported by experts from several Russian organizations, among which were IIS, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, CEMI RAS, Federal Bureau of Medical and Social Expertise, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation and others.
During 2017, the World Bank, in cooperation with IIS, developed a methodology for assessing the digital economy intended for different countries of the world (Digital Economy Country Assessment, DECA). The methodology is based on research results obtained by international organizations (OECD, ITU, World Economic Forum, etc.), leading global consulting firms, industry representatives, as well as the World Bank.
The overall conceptual framework for the assessment is based on the vision of the digital economy development presented in the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends, which analyzes the socio-economic effects of the development of the digital economy (“digital dividends”) and the conditions for receiving these dividends. The technique is focused on diagnosing the current situation; diagnostic results can be used to form a plan for further action. By its structure, the methodology is limited in scope and provides:
- a basic assessment of the current state of maturity of the country’s digital economy;
- identification of key gaps, problems and opportunities in the development of the digital economy;
- identifying areas that require more careful analysis before policy action or investment is undertaken.
In 2018, IIS and experts from other Russian organizations, with the support of the World Bank, prepared an analytical report on the current state of the development of the digital economy in Russia. This report became one of the interim reports prepared within the framework of the digital economy development initiative in the process of writing the report “Competing in the Digital Age: Policy Implications for the Russian Federation“. This was the first global pilot project to apply the DECA methodology at the country level. In 2018, the G20 Digital Economy Working Group recommended this methodology as a tool for measuring the development of the digital economy in countries.
At the same time, IIS also took the initiative and actively participated in the development of a pilot version of the National Index for the Development of the Digital Economy under the auspices of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom as the competence center of the federal project “Digital Technologies” of the national program “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation”. This work analyzes the factors influencing the development of the digital economy – both digital and non-digital.
The “digital” factors are the corresponding infrastructure of data networks, data centers and digital platforms. “Non-digital” factors are human capital, R&D and innovation, business environment, government policy and regulation, information security. A special factor influencing the development of the digital economy is the presence of a mature digital sector of the economy in the country, including the sector of information and communication technologies along with the sector of (digital) content and media.
When preparing the index, the experts also made an analysis of the use of digital technologies in the areas of public administration, health care, business, as well as their use by ordinary citizens (consumers). A brief comparative analysis of the level of use of digital technologies in 32 European countries was made, and a “heat map” of digitalization of individual industries was presented, the need to analyze the impact of digital transformation on the development of the economy is indicated.
In 2018, IIS, using the DECA methodology, also assessed the level of development of the digital economy in the city of Sevastopol (in Russian only).