A new OECD report shows G20 and OECD countries are pushing ahead in developing new digital technologies, automating manufacturing and ensuring workers have the right skills for tomorrow’s jobs, as the digital transformation reshapes economies and people’s day-to-day lives and work.
Among the findings in the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2017, China now ranks among the top five economies – along with Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and the United States – in developing cutting-edge digital technologies. China is the biggest player in the Internet-of-Things sector and is producing more and better quality scientific research. India and eastern European countries are also increasing their weight in science and innovation.
China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and the US accounted for 70-100% of the 20 fastest growing new ICT technologies (such as payment protocols or interactive TV) over 2012-15, as measured by inventions patented in the five top Intellectual Property offices (IP5).
Korea and Japan are the leaders in robot intensity – measured as the number of robots used in a sector divided by the overall value created by that sector, giving a sense of the pace of automation relative to industry size . Robot intensity is rising in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, and in Brazil, Russia, India and, most notably, China which is fast catching up to US levels.
The Internet of Things, or machine-to-machine communication via Internet-connected devices such as vehicles, sensors or home appliances, is growing fast. China had the most SIM cards in machines in 2017 at 228 million subscriptions, accounting for 44% of global M2M connections and three times the US share. In terms of M2M cards per person, the US, France and the UK currently lead the pack among G20 countries.
The number of artificial intelligence technologies patented in the 5 top IP offices rose by 6% a year on average over 2010-15, led by Japan. Japan, Korea and the US together accounted for over 62% of AI-related IP5 patent applications, down from 70% in 2000-05 as filings rose from China and Chinese Taipei. EU countries contributed to 12% of the top AI inventions, down from 19% in the previous decade.
The US has the biggest share of the world’s top 10% most-cited scientific publications, and China has overtaken the UK to lie in second place after tripling its high-impact output in a decade. The US share of top-cited research fell from 38% in 2005 to 26% in 2016, the UK slipped from 8% to 6% and China increased its share from 4% to 14%. India’s share rose to 2.6% from 1.3%.