Geneva Digital Atlas

Digital Economy and Labour

The digital transformation of our modern society has sent ripples in multiple dimensions; one particularly contentious dimension is economy and trade. 

The global digital flows of goods, services, and money are challenged by the digital divide, regulatory fragmentation, and unequal market power among players. Since 1998, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been working on customs duties, taxation, and trade barriers related to e-commerce. The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD’s) work programme on e-commerce and the digital economy further offers research analysis and assists with consensus-building among governmental experts. 

Digital platforms and advanced technologies like AI also alter the nature of labour and challenge the livelihoods of many. The International Labour Organization (ILO) established a global commission to study such changes; it called for a ‘human-centred agenda for the future of work’ in the landmark report Work for a Brighter Future, examining the impacts on the gendered labour gap imposed by increased automation and robotics.