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Growing digital divide, but watch this space - NZTech

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The government is right to raise this concern that there is a growing digital divide, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says in response to a digital report released today.

Muller says the opportunities emerging from the rapid exponential growth of technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles and augmented reality are fantastic for all Kiwis.

Communications Minister Clare Curran yesterday released a report - Digital New Zealanders: The Pulse of our Nation - outlining the digital divide in New Zealand. She says the government will, with the assistance of a soon to be established advisory group, help determine what tech skills Kiwis need to be ready for the jobs of the future.

"The Minister is right to raise this concern that there is a growing digital divide," Muller says.

"These technologies have the potential to make New Zealand more prosperous by improving access to services, helping businesses be more efficient and creating economic growth throughout the country.

"Those that don’t have access to the right technologies or the skills or motivation to make the most of them are being left behind. Left unaddressed this digital divide will exacerbate the social divide.

"However, if we move faster to address the growing digital divide as a country we will find that the technology will also help reduce the social divide.

"Giving people the understanding, confidence and skills to use digital tools will help New Zealand prosper.

"The introduction of digital technologies into the New Zealand curriculum in 2018 is a great step in ensuring all Kiwis understand digital technology and how to make the most of it.

"Next week the New Zealand Digital Skills Forum group is releasing a landmark and detailed analysis of the digital skills needed by New Zealand over the coming years and the opportunities for all New Zealanders," Muller says.

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