Evidence-informed digital policy

A telecom data centre, Vietnam, 2017. Photo: Daoducquan CC BY-SA 4.0

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence have implications across a wide range of traditionally separate government policy spaces. Questions about how to maximise the potential of emerging technologies are occupying ministries of health and education at the same time as dilemmas around competition and innovation are challenging officials in treasuries and business departments.

This breadth is exciting but it also creates difficult obstacles for governments trying to achieve joined-up thinking. We are working at the new frontier of decision-making with and about digital technology to address a set of policy questions which are facing many countries simultaneously, regardless of wealth. These include how to regulate large tech companies, how to avoid the potential negative impacts of artificial intelligence on equality and how to strike the right balance balance between potential and privacy when it comes to digital identity. 

We work in partnership with government officials and subject experts across the world to inform the evolution of future-focused policy frameworks for digital societies. We recognise that business-as-usual won’t enable governments to deliver in the digital age and work with our partners to explore innovative approaches to policy-making. This work specifically includes the provision and application of diagnostic tools to inform evidence-based decision-making for officials working on policies relating to the future of digital societies.

Drawing on over two decades of experience through the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme, we are also building an evidence base for what works and what doesn’t that governments and other institutions will be able to draw on in the development of policies that enable successful digital societies.