Press Release15.03.2018, Berlin

Digitalization and Sustainability: what we need to talk about

A major technical revolution is underway. How will it change the coexistence of humankind on this planet? What goals will it serve? What opportunities and risks does it involve? Who will gain or lose power in its wake? How can it be used to solve humankind's great challenges like the transformation towards sustainability?

In the paper "Digitalization: what we need to talk about", the WBGU presents ten key issues in the interplay between digitalization and sustainability. The paper aims to intensify the public debate on the opportunities and risks of digitization and to link it with social goals.

The interaction of data collection, networking, artificial intelligence and robotics is driving radical changes in personal, societal and economic life worldwide. Cleverly used, digitialization could make a decisive contribution to the achievement of global sustainable development.

In 2015, the United Nations ‘2030 Agenda’ set 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serving as a guideline for all states up to the year 2030. They aim to ensure human dignity, human rights and to protect natural life-support systems. The impact of the digital revolution on the attainability of these goals, and where possible breakthroughs and undesirable developments are in the looming, is not systematically discussed or documented. WBGU will therefore use the paper over the next few months as a background for discussions with politicians, business and civil society and will incorporate the findings gained into the new report, which will be published at the beginning of 2019.