UN report: Technologies can help lives but boost inequality

October 08, 2018 - 3:08 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. report says new technologies from artificial intelligence to gene editing hold immense potential to improve people's lives — but can also drive greater inequality and social dislocation.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2018 released Monday focuses on whether leading-edge technologies can be used to meet U.N. goals for 2030 including ending extreme poverty, preserving the environment and promoting economic growth.

While richer developed countries are grappling with the opportunities of new technologies that can help eradicate disease and automate repetitive tasks, the report says, "many developing countries are yet to fully reap the benefits of existing technologies."

It says "a great technological gap persists," pointing to more than 1 billion people in developing countries without access to electricity and another 2.5 billion who experience frequent power outages.