A new report finds that, by 2030, annual information communication technology (ICT)-related costs will likely be higher than incremental annual benefits, especially in high-income countries. However, while annual costs could exceed new benefits, countries will almost certainly still enjoy a very substantial net long-term benefit from ICT. ICT’s annual contributions to productivity and capital stocks compound, meaning the total benefits of ICT grow exponentially over time. ICT-related costs, on the other hand, tend to be one–time, paid each year.
The research on which the report is based analyzes the current economic impact of ICT and examines potential futures through 2030. Using the International Futures (IFs) forecasting system, the authors explore the expansion of ICT globally and ICT’s contribution to economic productivity and growth and to consumer surplus (benefits from reduced prices and increased capability). The research also considers the costs of adverse cyber events and the costs of efforts to prevent such events.
The report was sponsored by the Zurich Insurance Group and produced in collaboration with the Atlantic Council. The authors are Barry Hughes, David Bohl, Mohammod Irfan, Eli Margolese-Malin, and José Solórzano.
In addition to the report, the IFs team created a specialized dashboard to examine variables and trends mentioned above. The dashboard is available online. Users can also download IFs for their desktop or use the model online.