ERIC SCHMIDT AND JARED COHEN MAP OUT FUTURE THREATS AND OPPORTUNITIES
The New Digital Age To Be Published on April 23rd
NEW YORK, December 3, 2012—Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, and Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, have collaborated on a book that looks at the future of business, citizenship, politics, privacy, terrorism, and diplomacy as they relate to both established and emerging technologies. The book, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf on April 23, 2013 with a first printing of 150,000 copies. The announcement was made today by Sonny Mehta, Knopf Chairman and Editor in Chief.
“Soon everyone on Earth will be connected,” the authors write. With billions more people set to join the virtual world in the next few years, the boon in digital connectivity will bring to the physical world enormous gains in productivity, health, education, and quality of life. By 2025, the majority of the world’s population will, in one generation, have gone from having virtually no access to unfiltered information to having almost unlimited access to all of the world’s information through its largest ungoverned space – the Internet. “As this space grows larger,” the authors write, “our understanding of nearly every aspect of life will change, from the minutia of our daily lives to more fundamental questions about identity, relationships and even our own security.”
In The New Digital Age, Schmidt and Cohen address the most important questions of our time vis-a-vis technology: Who will be more powerful in the future, the citizen or the state? Will technology make terrorism easier or more difficult to carry out? How much privacy and security will we have to give up to be part of the new digital age? How will war, diplomacy, and revolution change when everyone is connected? What will be the impact of having both a full virtual life online, and a physical one?
“Schmidt and Cohen have written a clear-eyed, seminal book about our future,” said Mehta. “It is a fascinating depiction of both what could happen and what will happen.”
From technologies that will change our lives (smartphones that accurately diagnose illness and injury) to our most important future considerations (curating our online identity and fighting those who would do harm with it) to the widespread political change that will transform the globe (through revolutions in online journalism, increasingly active citizenries, and nations operating simultaneously in the physical and virtual realms), Schmidt and Cohen outline the promise and peril awaiting us in the coming decades.
“With the spread of connectivity,” the authors write, “citizens will have more power than at any other time in history, but this will come with costs, particularly to both privacy and security. The technology we talk about naturally collects and stores much personal information….The risk that this information is released is increasing, and while the technology to protect it is available, human error, nefarious activity and the passage of time means that it will only become more difficult to keep information private.”
“We believe that modern technology platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, are even more powerful than most people realize,” they write. “These platforms constitute a true paradigm shift, and what gives them power is their ability to grow – specifically, their speed to scale. Almost nothing, short of a biological virus, can scale as quickly, efficiently or aggressively as these technology platforms and this makes the people who build, control, and use them powerful too.” This acceleration to scale, when paired with interconnectedness that Internet technology fosters, will usher in a new era of globalization—the globalization of products and ideas.
“This is a book about the importance of a guiding human hand in the new digital age,” the authors write. “For all the possibilities that communication technologies represent, their use for good or ill depends solely on people. Forget all the talk about machines taking over. What happens in the future is up to us.”
The New Digital Age will also be published as an eBook and as a Random House Audiobook.
Alfred A. Knopf is the flagship imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, which is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, the international media company.
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