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The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 23, 2013 0307957136 978-0307957139 1

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. On individual, community and state levels, across every geographical and socioeconomic spectrum, they reveal the dramatic developments—good and bad—that will transform both our everyday lives and our understanding of self and society, as technology advances and our virtual identities become more and more fundamentally real.

As Schmidt and Cohen’s nuanced vision of the near future unfolds, an urban professional takes his driverless car to work, attends meetings via hologram and dispenses housekeeping robots by voice; a Congolese fisherwoman uses her smart phone to monitor market demand and coordinate sales (saving on costly refrigeration and preventing overfishing); the potential arises for “virtual statehood” and “Internet asylum” to liberate political dissidents and oppressed minorities, but also for tech-savvy autocracies (and perhaps democracies) to exploit their citizens’ mobile devices for ever more ubiquitous surveillance. Along the way, we meet a cadre of international figures—including Julian Assange—who explain their own visions of our technology-saturated future.

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.


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If prominence correlates with the attention paid to a prognosticator, there will be great interest in the outlook for the Internet, according to Google executive Schmidt. With Cohen, Schmidt addresses incipient trends in an individual’s engagement with the Internet to introduce his main subject, how nation-states and businesses will capitalize or cope with the velocity, connectivity, and mutation of the Internet. In the authors’ analysis, governments and companies face in the virtual world, as they have in the physical world, an intelligence challenge. Referencing Internet incidents galore, they warn of a perpetual “code war” between attackers and defenders and expand upon this type of conflict within authoritarian and democratic states. Citing the Arab Spring as an example, Schmidt and Cohen predict that its online propagation presages an easier initiation of future revolutions, which nevertheless face uncertain outcomes when they encounter, as they eventually must, the material powers of a state. Peering forward to the Internet’s influence on international affairs, this work of futurology combines optimism and pessimism in an informed and levelheaded presentation. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

The New Digital Age is a considered work…It shifts the debate about technology, elevating it from mundane arguments about the utility of dating apps to the wider issues of how technology interacts with power.”
The Economist

“This is the most important—and fascinating—book yet written about how the digital age will affect our world. With vivid examples and brilliant analysis, it shows how the internet and other communications technologies will empower individuals and transform the way nations and businesses operate. How will different societies make tradeoffs involving privacy, freedom, control, security, and the relationship between the physical and virtual worlds? This realistic but deeply optimistic book provides the guideposts. It’s both profoundly wise and wondrously readable.”
-Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
 
 “Every day, technological innovations are giving people around the world new opportunities to shape their own destinies. In this fascinating book, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen draw upon their unique experiences to show us a future of rising incomes, growing participation, and a genuine sense of community—if we make the right choices today.”
-Bill Clinton
 
“Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen have produced a searching meditation on technology and world order. Even those who disagree with some of their conclusions will learn much from this thought-provoking volume.”
-Henry A. Kissinger
 
“This is the book I have been waiting for: a concise and persuasive description of technology’s impact on war, peace, freedom, and diplomacy. The New Digital Age is a guide to the future written by two experts who possess a profound understanding of humanity’s altered prospects in a wireless world. There are insights on every page and surprising conclusions (and questions) in every chapter. For experts and casual readers alike, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen have produced an indispensable book.”
-Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright 
 
“Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt have written a brilliant book that should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the huge ramifications of the Age of Google not only for our lifestyles but, more importantly, for our privacy, our democracy and our security. If you already know about the law of photonics, data remanence, Stuxnet, Flame, DDoS attacks and CRASH (the Clean-Slate Design of Resilient, Adaptive, Secure Hosts) then you can probably skip it. If, like me, this is all news to you, you had better download The New Digital Age today. The 'technoptimistic' case will never be more smartly argued.”
-Niall Ferguson, author of Civilization: The West and the Rest

The New Digital Age is must-reading for anyone who wants to truly understand the depths of the digital revolution. Combining the skills of a social scientist and a computer scientist, Schmidt and Cohen blend the technical and the human, the scientific and the political, in ways I rarely saw while in government. They challenge the reader’s imagination on almost every page.”
-General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA
 
 “This is a book that describes a technological revolution in the making. How we navigate it is a challenge for countries, communities and citizens. There are no two people better equipped to explain what it means than Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen.”
-Tony Blair
 
“Few people in the world are doing more to imagine—and build—the new digital age than Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. With this book, they are looking into their crystal ball and inviting the world to peek in.”
-Michael R. Bloomberg
 
“Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s thoughtful, well-researched work elucidates the staggering impact of technology on our daily lives, as well as what surprising and incredible developments the future may hold. Readers might be left with more questions than answers, but that’s the idea—we are at our best when we ask ‘What’s next?’”
-Elon Musk, cofounder of Tesla Motors and PayPal

The New Digital Age offers an intriguing fusion of ideas and insights about how the virtual world is intersecting with the ‘Westphalian order.’ It seeks a balance between the discontinuities of technologists’ ‘revolutions’ and the traditionalism of internationalists’ study of states, power, and behavior. The authors explain that technology is not a panacea, yet the uses of technology can make a world of difference. This book should launch a valuable debate about the practical implications of this new connectivity for citizens and policy makers, societies and governments.”
-Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank Group

“We have long needed an incisive study of how the ever-evolving world of technology leaves almost no aspect of life unchanged. We have it in The New Digital Age. Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen offer a rigorous approach to decoding what the future holds in a story that is as well written and entertaining as it is important.”  
-General Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor

“At last, a brilliant guide book for the next century—what the future holds for entrepreneurs, revolutionaries, politicians, and ordinary citizens alike. Schmidt and Cohen offer a dazzling glimpse into how the new digital revolution is changing our lives. This book is the most insightful exploration of our future world I’ve ever read, and once I started reading I was simply unable to put it down.”
-Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group
 
“This brilliant book will make you re-examine your concepts of the digital age, the way the world works, what lies ahead, and what all this means for you, your family and your community. A must read.”
 —Mohamed El-Erian, chair, President Obama’s Global Development Council

“This work of futurology combines optimism and pessimism in an informed and level-headed presentation.”
Booklist

“Ambitious [and] fascinating . . . [this] book is filled with tantalizing examples of futuristic goods and services.”
Anna Kuchment, Scientific American
 
“[Schmidt and Cohen] encapsulate a vast sweep of ideas, including personal citizenship online and off, censorship of electronic information as national policy, and even what future revolutions will look like in years to come . . . A thoughtful and well-balanced prognostication of what lies ahead.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307957136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307957139
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 3.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
161 of 187 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an Afghan war veteran and an historian of technology, I found this book both important and valuable, but also oversimplifying complexity in places.

Important and valuable for one overriding reason: for alerting a mass readership of the current and accelerating social-economic-military-political disruptions arising from the expansion of the internet.

But execessively oversimplifying of complexity in several key instances. One example of this illustrates my concerns: see discussion of "More Innovation, More Opportunity", starting page 18 and the key sentence, pg 19, two lines from bottom of the page. (I will discuss pg 66 and the claim that technology is neutral in the "PS" section, at bottom of page)

The issue in these two pages (18-19) was that of globalized competition for jobs, wherein borders and community boundaries fall in the face of internet outsourcing of jobs. Schmidt and Cohen oversimplify as they discuss how workers in Orange County must compete with workers in Uruguay. How is this oversimplified? By not accounting for the multiplicity of factors that come into play, for example, what is the cost of living for a working family in Orange County compared to an overseas location? What are the working conditions of any number of overseas labor markets?

But the most striking case of over simplication comes near the bottom of page 19:
"Globalization's critics will decry this erosion of local monopolies, but it should be embraced, because this is how our socieities will move forward and continue to innovate."

So, where are the problems with this sentence? At least two instances. Case one: to use the word "MONOPOLIES" when referring to local workers is a needlessly perjorative phrase, especially in the US.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I meant to give this a three star review, not one. I've been in the tech industry for over twenty years (Microsoft, Oracle and Telco industry). I had built up high hopes to read something that wasn't obvious and everything in this book is relatively obvious and not in the future at all. If you're not in the tech industry and particularly if you work in foreign policy, this book is a must read. It appears to me that Jared contributed more to the book than Eric Schmidt. I encourage you to read both of their backgrounds to understand from where their perspective is grounded. I enjoyed the international historical examples that peppered the book, presumably coming from Jared. Now to the more critical concerns I have with the book. It's not visionary. The future examples are usually obvious or show some naivete and lack both depth and breadth. I am concerned that it reads like a book written by the progressive part of our US government instead of a broader view. The criticism in the first fifty pages of Assange shows a clear alignment with traditional US government views and ignores the broader questions and issues around transparency. There was little to no discussion about some of the big technological/policy battles in this space that are taking place daily and accelerating. For example - is the fourth amendment still relevant in the modern world where it becomes increasing impossible to maintain privacy? What about the new NSA Utah datacenter and Stellar Wind type projects which leave all up citizens lives bare? And how is the increasing secrecy of governments along with the increasing openness of citizen data creating potential imbalances in society? What about the other elephant in the room with regards to corporate storage of the same information about citizens? Read more ›
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266 of 316 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sophistry by Authors That Know Better - April 23, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Authors Schmidt and Cohen have outstanding backgrounds that would help produce an very insightful and detailed book. Instead, we get non-stop pros and cons, and not even very insightful ones. It's basically a summary of lots of bits and pieces that most readers are probably already familiar with - eg. background information about Moore's Law, the rising number of people using the Internet and mobile phones, and how photonics is doubling the data coming out of fiber-optic cables every nine months, but no insight as to when Cox Communications (my local source of Internet frustration) and others will replace cable Internet with fiber-optics.

Continuing, we get one small example of some third-world residents are using cell-phones to improve profits (fishermen in the Congo), a quick reference to Xbox 360 capabilities, extremely superficial comments about the future of robots, Khan Academy, and 3D-printers, but nothing about the revolutionary potential for MOOCs in our colleges and universities, or the obvious limitations of 3D-printers (materials used, size, speed).

Then there's babbling about improved physician-patient feedback for the health care sector - a tiring topic because that's the least of the problems in American health care. The #1 problem in American health care is extremely high costs caused by lack of government regulation, thereby allowing providers to take advantage of the extremely inelastic demand for health care and bleed patients and payers to the point where we spend far more than every other nation - 18% of GDP, vs. 8% for Taiwan and Japan, 4% for Singapore.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Facinating and somewhat frightening perspective on our future! I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in forward looking analysis of technology and the impact it... Read more
Published 1 day ago by D. Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars what garbage
it a myth to think that techonlgy is going to save us from over shoot in human population, it's nothing but white collar corp. welfare being funded by tax payers . Read more
Published 11 days ago by cesar figueroa
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good insight of the Future, now!
Reading this book today is a way to understand what will happen tomorrow. Life looks like easier. I hope everyone in the world can test it.
Published 13 days ago by Benito Castro
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing we didn't know.
Ponderous. Not insightful for a man in his position. Too many vignettes and examples that only marginally make the point.
Published 19 days ago by phishmonger
5.0 out of 5 stars Future of technology that makes sence!
This is I believe a look into the future of possibilities with regard to the pros and cons of advancing technology. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Stan Hines
4.0 out of 5 stars The Future, What might be on the way.
A look into the future whether you like what you read or not, it will make you think about what we are developing and if it is what we really intended or even want.
Published 23 days ago by WDM641
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, apprehensions not warranted
A couple of family members became interested in this book after the authors appeared on the Glenn Beck program. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Robert T. Cooper
1.0 out of 5 stars NWO
where is the section on individual privacy? OH YEA, THERE ISN'T. NWO agenda is so easily spotted here. What a joke.
Published 24 days ago by kyle
5.0 out of 5 stars We have a very bright future!
Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt did an amazing job showing how smartphones, internet access, and other aspects of digital technology will continue to make the world better. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Tim Udinski
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good
Not as good as I expected, you should read it if you want understand the impacts of 'digital age' to our society. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Arto Juha-pekka Ruotsalainen
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