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The New Digital Age
Cover of The New Digital Age
The New Digital Age
Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives
Borrow Borrow

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.

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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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    Chapter 1
     
    Our Future Selves
     
    Soon everyone on Earth will be connected. With five billion more people set to join the virtual world, the boom in digital connectivity will bring gains in productivity, health, education, quality of life and myriad other avenues in the physical world—and this will be true for everyone, from the most elite users to those at the base of the economic pyramid. But being “connected” will mean very different things to different people, largely because the problems they have to solve differ so dramatically. What might seem like a small jump forward for some—like a smart phone priced under $20—may be as profound for one group as commuting to work in a driverless car is for another. People will find that being connected virtually makes us feel more equal—with access to the same basic platforms, information and online resources—while significant differences persist in the physical world. Connectivity will not solve income inequality, though it will alleviate some of its more intractable causes, like lack of available education and economic opportunity. So we must recognize and celebrate innovation in its own context. Everyone will benefit from connectivity, but not equally, and how those differences manifest themselves in the daily lives of people is our focus here.
     
    -
     
    Increased Efficiency
     
    Being able to do more in the virtual world will make the mechanics of our physical world more efficient. As digital connectivity reaches the far corners of the globe, new users will employ it to improve a wide range of inefficient markets, systems and behaviors, in both the most and least advanced societies. The resulting gains in efficiency and productivity will be profound, particularly in developing countries where technological isolation and bad policies have stymied growth and progress for years, and people will do more with less.
     
    The accessibility of affordable smart devices, including phones and tablets, will be transformative in these countries. Consider the impact of basic mobile phones for a group of Congolese fisherwomen today. Whereas they used to bring their daily catch to the market and watch it slowly spoil as the day progressed, now they keep it on the line, in the river, and wait for calls from customers. Once an order is placed, a fish is brought out of the water and prepared for the buyer. There is no need for an expensive refrigerator, no need for someone to guard it at night, no danger of spoiled fish losing their value (or poisoning customers), and there is no unnecessary overfishing. The size of these women’s market can even expand as other fishermen in surrounding areas coordinate with them over their own phones. As a substitute for a formal market economy (which would take years to develop), that’s not a bad work-around for these women or the community at large.
     
    Mobile phones are transforming how people in the developing world access and use information, and adoption rates are soaring. There are already more than 650 million mobile-phone users in Africa, and close to 3 billion across Asia. The majority of these people are using basic-feature phones—voice calls and text messages only—because the cost of data service in their countries is often prohibitively expensive, so that even those who can buy web-enabled phones or smart phones cannot use them affordably. This will change, and when it does, the smart-phone revolution will profoundly benefit these populations.
     
    Hundreds of millions of people today are living the lives of their grandparents, in...

About the Author-
  • ERIC SCHMIDT is executive chairman of Google, where he served as chief executive officer from 2001 to 2011. A member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Schmidt also chairs the board of the New America Foundation and is a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
    JARED COHEN is director of Google Ideas and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Rhodes Scholar and the author of several books, including Children of Jihad and One Hundred Days of Silence. He is a member of the Director’s Advisory Board at the National Counterterrorism Center.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 22, 2013
    This transformational work from Google's Schmidt and Cohen examines the boundaries of the physical world we currently inhabit and offers a vision into our digital future: a world where everyone is connected, and what it means for people, nations, and businesses. Global connectivity can help generate more jobs in internet security and intellectual property and privacy law, while offering visible figures access to media outlets for self-promotion. Schmidt and Cohen address global connectivity and the relationships between invasion of privacy and government's control over people's private information; such connectivity opens doors to identity theft and increases the risk for cyber warfare. Societies will be at risk of fragmentation, facing ethnic and religious strife, as well as trouble emerging from online communities. The possibility of cyber terrorism and cyberwarfare will increase the likelihood of "new code wars" in which silent attacks are inevitable. Schmidt and Cohen outline plans to reconstruct societies and offer ideas for innovative policies that may allow societies to recover quickly. Technology connects us all, but as we become more dependent on it, will it eliminate physical human contact altogether?

  • The Economist "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."
  • Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs "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."
  • Bill Clinton "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."
  • Henry A. Kissinger "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."
  • Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright "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."
  • Niall Ferguson, author of Civilization: The West and the Rest "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."
  • General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA "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."
  • Michael R. Bloomberg "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."
  • Elon Musk, cofounder of Tesla Motors and PayPal "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?'"
  • Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank Group "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 tech
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