Dubai: Governments must harness the opportunities of technological change to end poverty, curb inequality, confront discrimination and ensure vast numbers of people aren’t left behind, said secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Jose Angel Gurria at the World Government Summit on Monday.

Speaking at a session entitled ‘the Future of the Economy in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ Garria said it was important for countries to use digital technology as an equaliser, not to create a situation where people are unable to participate in a new digitally-driven economy.

“Digital transformation can change the world, but we have to create a level playing field,” he said. “In OECD countries alone, we estimate up to half of all people will be displaced or affected by technology.”

The OECD estimates that 133 million new jobs may emerge in the shake-up between humans and machines by 2022. However, at the same time, 75 million jobs may be displaced. One billion people worldwide also lack the necessary digital literacy and skill to participate. Uneven broadband even means less than half the world’s population use the interest and globally 200 million fewer women are online than men.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have its upsides and downsides. It’s our challenge and duty to harness the upside, and mitigate the downside,” he added.