I really enjoyed the action packed book called “the new digital age” by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, which I had to listen to twice (do not read…I listen to audio) and am even entering a 3rd round. It’s very interesting that Eric and Jared focused their story on privacy, security, cyber warfare and cyber terrorism. They also gave a strong emphasis on the shifting control from the state to the people due to the world wide web connecting people and information through technology and breaking down communication and information barriers. But “interesting” turns quickly into “concerning” as society advances into an ever present technological world, where our lives are increasingly becoming digitized.
The book was packed full of examples. Maybe too many examples as it made the book very intense and heavy to consume). The book surprisingly had quite a pessimistic outlook on the future, which explains the disappointing reviews the book has received. But it’s interesting Eric Schmidt taking this dim stance on the future as he is one leader that has had the chance to talk to just about every head of state and higher policy official across the world. It is clear that they will face a challenging time in the next decade in order to run their countries and protect boarders in a world run by outdated rules. And they are very concerned about this. Rules will need to be changed to suit an every more present digital era and address the growing security, privacy and state control issues. China, Russia and Turkey are just a few examples of countries that are cracking down on laws governing the use of the Internet. I wrote a post a few weeks back on the cyber attack on the Internet of Things which you can read here.
I felt that Eric is hinting to the fact that the Internet will become more tightly regulated, censored and with less anonymity to protect local economies and traditional boarders and allow state officials to keep enough control in order to govern their countries. This is to protect us from ourselves as we do not have a very good track record in human history of being responsible with weapons of mass distraction, which is what the Internet maybe turn into if in the wrong hands.
Very interesting times ahead! I am working on a new concept as the Internet or technology itself being a virus, which has infected human civilization. Everyone infected must adapt and mutate (as happens in nature with a host/pathogen relationship). This includes government and businesses in order to survive the infection and not vaccinate against it (because it’s clear we need it) but adapt through mutation and adaption in order to co-exist symbiotically and seek homeostasis (balance) in the human vs technology relationship.
Key performance indicators will needs to be addressed and switch from GDP, growth, revenues to happiness, quality of life, human productivity. It’s clear that GDP and revenue growth are no longer an accurate measure of how a country or business is performing in a highly connected and social economy. We will need to adapt to this new infection, and the rules will need to change for us to co-exist with technology.