• Covid-19 and the digital revolution

      Hantrais, L.; Allin, P.; Kritikos, M.; Sogomonjan, M.; Anand, Prathivadi B.; Livingstone, S.; Williams, M.; Innes, M. (Taylor and Francis, 2021)
      Since the 1980s, the digital revolution has been both a negative and positive force. Within a few weeks of the Covid-19 outbreak, lockdown accelerated the adoption of digital solutions at an unprecedented pace, creating unforeseen opportunities for scaling up alternative approaches to social and economic life. But it also brought digital risks and threats that placed new demands on policymakers. This article assembles evidence from different areas of social science expertise about the impacts of Covid-19 in digitised societies and policy responses. The authors show how the pandemic supported changes in data collection techniques and dissemination practices for official statistics, and how seemingly insuperable obstacles to the implementation of e-health treatments were largely overcome. They demonstrate how the ethics of artificial intelligence became a primary concern for government legislation at national and international levels, and how the features enabling smart cities to act as drivers of productivity did not necessarily give them an advantage during the pandemic. At the micro-level, families are shown to have become ‘digital by default’, as children were exposed to online risks and opportunities. Globally, the spread of the pandemic provided a fertile ground for cybercrime, while digital disinformation and influencing risked becoming normalised and domesticated.