Toward Bridging the Data Divide

Blog by Randeep Sudan, Craig Hammer, and Yaroslav Eferin: “Developing countries face a data conundrum. Despite more data being available than ever in the world, low- and middle-income countries often lack adequate access to valuable data and struggle to fully use the data they have.

This seemingly paradoxical situation represents a data divide. The terms “digital divide” and “data divide” are often used interchangeably but differ. The digital divide is the gap between those with access to digital technologies and those without access. On the other hand, the data divide is the gap between those who have access to high-quality data and those who do not. The data divide can negatively skew development across countries and therefore is a serious issue that needs to be addressed…

The effects of the data divide are alarming, with low- and middle-income countries getting left behind. McKinsey estimates that 75% of the value that could be created through Generative AI (such as ChatGPT) would be in four areas of economic activity: customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, and research and development. They further estimate that Generative AI  could add between $2.6 trillion and $4.4 trillion in value in these four areas.

PWC estimates that approximately 70% of all economic value generated by AI will likely accrue to just two countries: the USA and China. These two countries account for nearly two-thirds of the world’s hyperscale data centers, high rates of 5G adoption, the highest number of AI researchers, and the most funding for AI startups. This situation creates serious concerns for growing global disparities in accessing benefits from data collection and processing, and the related generation of insights and opportunities. These disparities will only increase over time without deliberate efforts to counteract this imbalance…(More)”