Digital Literacy: The new currency of success in the Digital Age
Digital Literacy: The new currency of success in the Digital Age

Digital Literacy: The new currency of success in the Digital Age

Never in the history of mankind have we had so many tools, ways, and possibilities to learn and better our skills and knowledge. The digital era is happening and developing as we speak, and here we are faced with a myriad of information to choose from, digest and make our own.

But how do we know what is true and what is false? How do we use digital tools effectively and responsibly? How do we create and share our own digital content? These are some of the questions that digital literacy can help us answer.

Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. It is essential for an active participation in the economic and social life of modern society.

It helps individuals with finishing a course, passing an exam, or simply doing your job. It helps companies to revive old and heavy processes, shorten the time frame for certain tasks, basically upgrading its employees’ way of working and, by extension, its business models.

The meaning of digital literacy can be traced back to 1997 with the research of Paul Gilster who claimed that digital literacy means “to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide variety of sources when it is presented via computers”. Or simply put: understanding how to apply technology to solve business problems.

Digital Literacy in the Age of AI

The average person is highly likely to engage with at least one AI per day. Starting with the common auto-correct feature on their smartphone and continuing with a movie or product recommendations, or, in some cases, a self-driving car or digital assistant.

Undoubtedly, AI plays a major role in digital transformation. And it also plays an important role in helping people expand their digital literacy skills by offering a wide range of tools that facilitate analyzing speech and search patterns and recommending online sources to improve one’s knowledge.

The more you use a tool, the more that tool will work to your advantage. It will learn from your behavior and needs, and it will deliver more precise information.

At the same time, companies that are sitting at the other end of the process will gather useful and vital information about your needs and adapt that tool accordingly. Much like in nature, this chain reaction works on both ends, when used efficiently.

There is a wide variety of AI-powered tools that companies are using to achieve digital literacy. At the same time, these tools are useful for the end-user too for the same purpose. Here are some every-day tools that hit this goal:

A. AI-powered chatbots help companies improve their customer service by providing quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries. This way customers get their problem resolved and the company gathers information meant to stop that specific problem from happening again. The information can also be used to create and analyze a customer profile, thus to better the tool.

A great example is Haptik, a vendor of conversational AI that works with many companies including Fortune 500 ones like Disney, HP, Unilever, Tata, Zurich Insurance, and others. The platform is based on conversational AI systems that allow users to converse with applications and electronic devices in free-format, natural language, using speech or text.
Another example of smart chatbots is Microsoft Bing AI – an AI-powered chatbot that helps you find information on the web, and Jasper that helps businesses and marketers create tailored content for a variety of audiences.

B. AI-powered analytics tools help companies analyze large amounts of data to identify trends and patterns that can inform business decisions.

Examples include Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud all of which offer a variety of data and analytics tools that use AI.

C. AI-powered learning platforms help companies train their employees on new technologies and skills by providing personalized learning experiences that adapt to each employee’s needs. It’s a smart way of proving you are investing in digital literacy, while your employees are encouraged and trained to become digitally literate.

Coursera is an online learning platform that offers courses from top universities and organizations, while Udacity offers courses in technology and business.

Data Literacy and Digital Literacy: the inseparable, dynamic duo

Gartner defines data literacy as the ability to read, write, and communicate data in context, including an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use case, application and resulting value.

Its importance is also pinpointed by McKinsey that identifies data literacy as one of the six capabilities to sustain digital transformations next to: diverse tech talent, customer-centric design thinking, agile ways of working, next-gen technology and analytical reasoning.

That’s why in the future, organizations will need to go beyond simply employing mathematical modeling, AI, machine learning, and other data-driven tools to support their decisions and assure they have an eligible business management process. They will also need to focus on ensuring the fairness and validation of their algorithmic models when implemented in real-world scenarios.

This means that digital literacy can’t exist without data literacy. Each piece of data that is obtained needs to be quantified, analyzed, interpreted, and understood so that one can make the best business decision based on it.

A poor data literacy level impedes an organization’s digital transformation and its ability to compete in an increasingly digital-first business environment. That’s why companies need to focus more and invest in people who have the ability to draw insights and ask the right questions in the first place. According to Accenture “employees who identify as data-literate were at least 50% more likely than their data-novice peers to say they feel empowered and trusted to make better decisions.”

Although AI has taken over many of the tasks in this sector, it’s not quite there yet in terms of analyzing data and suggesting a proper solution that has a 100% effectiveness in the real world. The work is pretty much split between humans and AI.

There are several ways companies can invest in data and digital literacy: from providing training programs to improve employees’ skills to implementing more technology programs. Companies can also offer a professional development stipend, encourage teamwork and knowledge sharing among peers, conduct performance audits, stay up-to-date with new trends through podcasts, videos, webinars, and online research, increase their online presence, define data literacy goals, assess employees’ current skill levels, and lay out appropriate learning paths.

Digital literacy is a critical skill that companies must prioritize in order to remain competitive in today’s digital-first business environment. By investing in digital literacy training for employees and leveraging AI to achieve data literacy, companies can unlock the full potential of their data and drive better business outcomes. As we look to the future, it’s clear that digital literacy will only become more important as technology continues to evolve and transform the way we work, think, and develop as individuals.