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Towards 2025 HDR

Harnessing the opportunities of the digital transformation to advance human development

The 2025 Human Development Report (HDR) is part of a trilogy of reports that looks at a new uncertainty complex comprised of intensifying polarization, destabilized planetary systems, and expanding societal transformation driven by digitalization, including more powerful and far-reaching artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

The 2025 HDR takes a people-centered approach that considers how ideas, knowledge, and information are central to human development. The knowledge/information environment is being reshaped by innovative technologies, creating new challenges and opportunities. Navigating this new context in a way that expands capabilities and agency will shape the course for human development for the next decades. 

The 2025 HDR will explore:

  • How a life stage perspective illuminates the different impacts of digitalization on various age groups, including people including people of all ages living with disabilities. It analyzes how digitalization is reshaping key areas of human development, including health, education, social norms, relationships, and agency, changing not only the way societies operate but also the way human beings function. Early childhood, for instance, is a vulnerable stage of life, during which digital technologies shape developing brains and bodies. For school age children, digital technologies bring exciting opportunities for learning, both in school and at home, while also presenting risks that seem to be correlated with a deterioration of wellbeing amongst young people. At adult age, digitalization may radically shift the daily activities of work, care, and social interactions within families and with friends. Older people often have as much access to digital technologies as younger people, but how will the digital technologies be used and shaped by the ageing population in many countries?
  • How broader systemic aspects of digitalization shape economic and political processes, which constitute the foundation for individual flourishing. For instance, digitalization, and particularly AI, have the potential to disrupt political processes, but they can also enhance inclusiveness and transparency. The report uses a human rights lens to shed light on the tensions that may emerge around preserving freedoms of expression or association with a fundamentally reshaped information environment. It will also examine the implications of lack of diversity in the data used to train AI algorithms. When it comes to the world of work, AI can both augment and replace people, so it is important to consider how to prevent emerging patterns of inequality in human development. New technologies offer the promise of new possibilities to address the challenges of the Anthropocene, but computational and material demands can also exacerbate pressures on the planet through natural resource extraction and energy consumption.

Societal transformations have required institutional and policy innovations in the past, while at the same time mobilizing new coalitions to empower people to navigate new realities. The report will lay out a road map that seeks to inspire people at large, as well as decision makers, to harness digital technologies for human flourishing. Among others, this includes leveraging digital advancements to enhance human capabilities and implementing policies that enable people to exercise their agency in the digital space.


Timeline of global consultations

The 2025 HDR Advisory Board members will be announced in June 2024.