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The New Digital Age

In: Business and Management

Submitted By yennguyen158
Words 1182
Pages 5
Yen Nguyen
ISM 6026
The New Digital Age – Reshape the Future of People, Nation and business book review

“The New Digital Age” by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen gives us their vision of how technology will impact and reshape our lives in the future; a world of fully connectivity where every individual will be a part of the whole virtual world through the critical development of technology. Schmidt and Cohen’s argument is that the rapid improvement of computer technology with internet access will significantly connect and transfer every aspect of life from the physical world to the new virtual one, whether it is for the better, for the worse, or just different. The book also addresses the way humans interact with, apply, and explore technology in life and the guidance for humans to adapt the changes in the new technological revolution.

The two authors start by introducing a variety of new technologies which are created and used to increase our efficiency such as smart devices, “additive manufacturing” _ 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, voice and gesture recognition, and robotics. These new technologies provide new opportunities for not only business but also many other fields including: education, healthcare, and entertainment. They indicate that the global trend will be supported strongly as connectivity spreads become power in the future, and an effective working environment will be created when the new technology’s invention removes language and geographical barriers. Technology innovation will also affect our traditional routines and improve the quality of our future life. The optimistic view is that one day in the future digital machines are designed to know, arrange and follow what human beings plan ahead illustrates convenient and efficient future for ourselves.

Schmidt and Cohen state that the virtual population will exceed the physical one in the next decade and the more human beings depend on connective technologies, the more we need to be concerned about our privacy and security. First, all personal information which we post online will permanently remain. Second, our identification may be hacked or stolen, and even we publicize our private information accidently. Therefore, besides requiring the government to protect private information, each individual has to pay attention and be responsible for what they share in the virtual world. The growth of technology also causes some disadvantages such as warlords, extortionists, pirates, and criminals will have more chances to build virtual weapons to endanger life, and technology companies challenge to their customers’ expectation in privacy and security protection. A controversial question is “who has power to the virtual world?”, and the answer relates to the debates over security and privacy. For example, the power between the state and their citizens is shifted by how much high surveillance equipment can each state prepare, use and maintain.

This connectivity thread will create challenges to most states, especially those that are authoritarian. The Balkanization of the Internet is a possible level of control of states may use in policing the information revolution. Each government has its own perspective and way to create internet control. They use distinctive filtering and collaboration methods to build virtual policies within their states. The book’s authors also point out the threat of cyber-attack will go beyond the level of preventing access to website and become highly destructive and effective weapons for either governments or terror groups. The best example is the successful cyber-attack on an Iranian nuclear power plant by the American and Israeli governments who were using the Stuxnet worm.

The authors declare that revolutionary movements will be easy to start but difficult to finish. The rise of high digital technology provides many convenient ways for populations and organizations to connect, spread out information, and plan rebellious campaigns even under autocratic governments. However, technology is just a tool which supports humans to work on projects but not able to create skilled people. The authors also discuss barriers interrupting a revolution’s success, such as the idea that a revolution requires a two fold strategies for real and digital action. Moreover, the authors suggest that looking for a leader who is a master to deal with many complicated problems in the physical and virtual world. In turn, governments will have to find smart methods to impact revolutions because a government’s attempts to block down the internet and limit the connectivity will bring unintended consequences.

The book emphasizes that technology gives fair opportunities for all parts in society including terrorists and violent extremists, and it also draws frighteningly destructive scenarios of homemade explosive devices, drones and cyber-attacks. On one hand, terror organization will take advantage of their platforms to recruit, develop their strategies in the virtual world and approach their ambition. On the other hand, the connected world will restrict extremism groups from hiding their activities. As a result, there will be fewer terrorist organizations in the future, but the scale and destructive level will be much more dangerous.

Schmidt and Cohen predict conflicts, combat and mass atrocities will still be a part of human society; however, our future will be more peaceful and less violence. They also note that discrimination, the primary reason for conflicts, becomes more terrible and personal. They also state governments will have the ability to access data with greater options in the virtual world to repress and isolate minority groups’ activities. Developing a digital verification system to assure all evidence is doctored will be the best answer to challenges in multidimensional conflicts. The trend towards robotics, artificial intelligence and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in warfare will add more significant capabilities in shifting human roles in combats but increase moral dilemmas.

The two authors express an optimistic view of the new digital roles in reconstructing a country after war or a natural disaster. The most distinguish between a reconstruction prototype and a physical one is telecommunication which should be placed at the first priority in reconstruction efforts. The new technology provides communication lines for urgent workers as well as friends and family to interact and help each other in the period of crisis. It also gives helpful ways for that community to solve further difficulties, especially the capability of maintaining law and order and the effect of donation after math. Furthermore, the establishment of healthy telecommunication promises a strong foundation for the business sustainable growth that helps governments have ability to support and increase the incentive for ex-combatant and prevent them from their violation.

Overall, Schmidt and Cohen believe that the advances in digital technology will bring benefits to everyone on the earth and improve our life’s quality. Our future world will include both the physical and virtual elements, so governments will have to practice effective policies for both aspects of life. The rise of connectivity and mobile phone use will provide everyone more power and opportunities, but it also threatens our security. Although technology may create violence and destruction in our world, we cannot get rid of abusive power. The only thing that we should consider is what helps us control our future and how we will involve it in our role of both creating and using technology.…...

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