In an unparalleled collaboration, two leading global thinkers in technology and foreign affairs give us their widely anticipated, transformational vision of the future: a world where everyone is connected - a world full of challenges and benefits that are ours to meet and to harness.
Eric Schmidt is one of Silicon Valley’s great leaders, having taken Google from a small startup to one of the world’s most influential companies. Jared Cohen is the director of Google Ideas and a former adviser to secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. With their combined knowledge and experiences, the authors are uniquely positioned to take on some of the toughest questions about our future: Who will be more powerful in the future, the citizen or the state? Will technology make terrorism easier or harder to carry out? What is the relationship between privacy and security, and how much will we have to give up to be part of the new digital age?
In this groundbreaking book, Schmidt and Cohen combine observation and insight to outline the promise and peril awaiting us in the coming decades. At once pragmatic and inspirational, this is a forward-thinking account of where our world is headed and what this means for people, states and businesses.
With the confidence and clarity of visionaries, Schmidt and Cohen illustrate just how much we have to look forward to - and beware of - as the greatest information and technology revolution in human history continues to evolve.
Inspiring, provocative and absorbing, The New Digital Age is a brilliant analysis of how our hyper-connected world will soon look, from two of our most prescient and informed public thinkers.
©2013 Google Inc. and Jared Cohen (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Wow. I had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I admired the authors’ bold imagination on complex global issues. The idealism was almost childish, but I kept reminding myself that “these are the Google guys” and gave them the benefit of the doubt.
The allure of the book revolves mainly around its passionate and revolutionary tone. More and more, the physical world is casting a kind of digital shadow where almost all human activity can be recorded. This data is a new metric available to those with access to it. However, the authors seem almost blinded by their own imagination. There is some bizarre detachment to some of their solutions. They paint pictures of Somalis running around with cell phones and snitching on war lords using a form of cyber-bullying. Let them eat cake! Or more, appropriately, let them have cell phones and data plans!
Instead of an Orwellian police state, where the government spies on its citizens…..we can have a Democratic Police State, where citizens spy on their government and each other. By stripping away privacy, the authors envision a kind of transparent super-state in which each citizen has the technological power to expose any wrong-doing. Each citizen is a reporter, a photojournalist, a spy, and vigilante. Through a system of total surveillance, we will apparently have a world of total transparency, and thereby a world where no one does anything wrong. Why? Because everyone is watching. Instead of Big Brother, we get Big Neighbor.
To justify this digital anarchy, you’ll notice the authors’ heroic image of a digital super-state in action. Citizens would cyber-bully bad governments until they topple while NGO’s [non-governmental organizations] are deployed around the world to distribute food, commodities, and technology. NGO’s replace governments by distributing resources wherever needed thereby ending poverty and dictatorships. The Digital Age apparently is one of distribution….not free trade. The role of the citizen is as an informer working “together with the State” against undesirables. Digital mob actions would keep everyone in check. The authors’ literally suggest public tribunals and community policing programs. We would have a decentralized fascist public equipped to expose wrong-doers and undermine any central authority at will. Therefore, the main ‘revolution’ of the Digital Age appears to be radicalism against…ourselves.
These are not new ideas. This policing and distribution model for society is simply getting new life because of new technology. This time, we are assured, the power will be used for good. This time, only bad people will be targeted.
If anything, this book got me thinking. Instead of destroying privacy because we can, we should focus more on how to better protect it. Privacy is a barrier between us, the public, and the government. Our lives are our own record of experiences, a secret patent to our personal belief system, a trademark for our self-image, and our very own brand of personality. Our digital self is our own intellectual property. You, Inc. The government’s role should be in protecting your privacy….and NOT in protecting the rights of the intruders.
Google isn’t sharing its secrets with the world. Why are they asking us to share ours?
Nice survey of what great things are possible, along with the potential nightmare scenarios. Much of this book discusses how the digital age will create new public policy issues, both domestic and international.
Probably not. It wasn't 'bad', but it was disappointing. I expected a more thoughtful analysis of the impacts of digital technology/connectedness on the way we live, work, play. Instead, I got projections of the obvious, strange examples, curious conclusions and a social agenda. It was all very facile. I expected something more engaging and thought provoking given the creds of the authors.
I hoped for a more thoughtful analysis about where the digital age was taking us. I guess I assumed the premise of the book was how our lives would change. Instead, we get commentary on the application of digital connectedness to the problems of the present. There is much social messaging against the 'state' and 'big corporations.' Any discussion of institutions is in the negative. This is an understandable bias that many of us share, but it is overdone. The example of how technology would allow states to crack down on minorities (digital genocide) was ludicrous. Institutions are created by people to sustain their societies and the things they value...how will they be better able to do this? Do we think governments and corporations might be able to leverage the digital age as effectively as individuals to deliver better services to consumers involved in their processes? Isn't there risk of individuals subverting the social norms of the majority through technological bulllying and vandalism? How will societies adapt to protect the qualities of life they value? No such dialogue in this book.
This would be a much better book if it thought a bit beyond describing the technology-enabling aspects of the digital age, and projected how they will change the lives of average people ('average' in both a Western sense, and in a global sense.) How will we stay healthy? How will we be entertained? What kind of work will we do? How will we be educated?
I did not find anything that I strongly disagreed with in the book, but I expected something more exciting and optimistic. I was bored after an hour, but kept listening assuming it would get better. It did not.
The concepts were decidedly untechnical. It was much more like listening to a sociology textbook. Any technical analysis was facile and obvious. The writing style does not translate well into audio. Long sentences containing lists are comprehensive, but not particularly useful.
Narration was fine. The monotone reflected the character of the text.
No. The teacher from Ferris Buehler's Day Off. "Anyone? Buehler?..."
This was a huge disappointment. I had big expectations when I first began listening to the book and then one "imagine one day in the future" after another really began to grate on me. After listening to the entire book it was readily apparent that the authors engaged in little more than a thinly veiled infomercial for Google while avoid so many of the complexities that come with our lives' data now living both on Google's servers and in the cloud in general. For anyone who has even a basic understand of global technology issues, this book will likely seem underwhelming.
This book speaks very little about future inventions (ok, so holographic displays and robots are mentioned). This is mainly a book about global politics and how people around the world will be enabled by technology (as if they're not already). What really disappoints me is that it feels like an exercise in stating the obvious. If you're unaware of "cloud" storage, or if you would be surprised to learn that cheap mobile phones and social media will help citizens of repressed countries to organize, then this might be the book for you.
I think a better title for this book would have been, "The Current Digital Age". The content was quite mundane. I never once felt a need to rewind a passage (which I typically do a lot of with other books).
The reader speaks very slowly. The good news is that I was able to play it in 2x mode and save half the time... I managed to finish it, but I could have gotten by on just the first and last chapters. If you're looking for a book about technology or futurism, there are better choices out there. For a new book from one of the top minds at Google, this isn't just disappointing - I feel ripped off.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Unlike some of the other reviewers I found this book interesting and thought provoking. The book went back and forth between what is coming in technology and how it can be used by the individual, corporation, or NGO, for good or bad. What I found most intriguing is their discussions on how government can use the coming technology for good or evil. Jared Cohen worked at the State Department under both Rice and Clinton so I felt he had a good understanding of the various types of government in the world and what they would or would not do with the technology. They went out of their way to point out technology such as, the smart phone, will give more power to all the people of the world. It was interesting how they see the use of communication technology in helping in natural or man made disasters in the world. They used the example of Haiti to show what would have worked better and how various technologies could improve the reconstruction phase post disaster. In listing all the new advancements coming in the future I felt like one day we will pass the wonders of Star Trek. One question they asked was, for each of us to think, at what point do we draw the line of how much privacy will we give up for security. Lots of information along with pros and cons of use and abuse, over all I was fascinated with the information in the book.
Husband. Dad. 3D Nerd. Tech Junkie. Saints fan. Part of the Squid clan.
While I certainly enjoyed some of the concepts that Schmidt and Cohen present, I found myself constantly wishing more concrete examples of how the current tech is evolving would be used to back up their ideas. Several sounded off-base and were just plain hard to believe, several seemed to provide a roadmap for criminals to follow to make our lives miserable, and with the recent revelation of the NSA's PRISM program in the news, several ideas discussed have already proven to be outdated or have set back the digital age pretty dramatically.
Unfortunately, I just didn't find the information put together coherently, and found the book itself more focused with current politics and more mundane aspects of today's technology. I guess I was looking in the wrong place for inspiration on what the future holds.
My advice, pass on this one and don't wonder "what if?".
Cannot recommend this book enough, really good overview and the most enjoyable part was the fast pace, the vision of the future & the history of other political climates. Really awesome!
Insight by two tech pioneers on what tomorrow will hold. Part dystopian warning and part optimistic tale of want tomorrow could hold. Very thought provoking.
The insightful message of this book could be reduced to "the internet will change the future". The content of the book is a rapid-fire stream of claims about the future, all made with absolute confidence, and little supporting evidence. This wasn't the worst futurist book I've read, but it certainly didn't bring me any useful insights.
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