"Soon everyone on Earth will be connected," write Jared Cohen, CFR adjunct senior fellow and director of Google Ideas, and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, in The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business. In a book the New York Times calls "prescient and provocative," the authors argue that citizens will have more power than at any other time in history and weigh the costs of this access, particularly to privacy and security.
Cohen and Schmidt forecast the promise and perils of the coming decades, from technologies that affect everyday life to political revolutions that are sweeping the globe. Concepts such as "virtual statehood" and "Internet asylum" will arise to protect dissidents and oppressed minorities, while tech-savvy autocracies—and even democracies—will find they can exploit their citizens' mobile devices for ever-more-ubiquitous surveillance.
The New Digital Age addresses the most important questions raised by the proliferation of new 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 individuals have to give up when they opt in to the new digital age? How will war, diplomacy, and revolution change when everyone has access to information technologies?
Over the course of their research, the authors interviewed a cadre of international figures—from WikiLeaks cofounder Julian Assange to former Mossad chief Meir Dagan—who offer their visions of a technology-saturated future.
Ultimately, Cohen and Schmidt stress "the importance of a guiding human hand in the new digital age. 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."