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We might not have hover boards yet (let’s keep our fingers crossed, eh?) but we do have lots of technology available to us that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. Without the internet and mobile phones people’s lives in this country would be quite different (there would be no ‘I’m a Scientist..’ for starters).

And it’s not just our lives which have been changed by the Internet and mobile communications. These digital technologies have changed the way that businesses do business, how governments govern and what the economy is based on to boot. Here in the UK we spend more money on the internet per person than in any other country.

Information is very powerful in the digital world: ‘knowledge is power’. So there is pressure on organisations like Councils to release any information they can. Businesses could take this and improve their services, maybe even getting more customers to boot!

The government is very keen on this ‘Digital Economy’ and people talk excitedly about ‘connectivity’ and ‘innovation’. But not everyone has access to technology such as high-speed broadband. The challenge for Research Council UK is to help the country to use digital technologies in the best way possible, so that it becomes a better place for everyone living here. That’s a pretty mammoth-sized task though, so they’ve broken it up into four chunks: ‘Communities and Culture’, ‘Sustainable Society’, ‘IT as a utility’ and ‘New Economic Models’.

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