April 26, 2013

Google Chairman Eyes Tech-Friendly Future

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has a long history of optimistic thinking about technology’s impact on the future (sometimes raising a few eyebrows with what he says).

So it is not surprising his new book, “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business” takes a positive view of how technology will shape our lives.

The book is co-written with Jared Cohen, a former U.S. State Department terrorism adviser who now is in charge of Google’s think tank, dubbed Google Ideas. In the book the duo argue that an always-connected world will be a better one as it will allow humans to have a more direct role in shaping the future.

For example, Cohen argues that even though more terrorists will turn to the web, the Internet will have its eyes on them also.

“Many of the populations coming online in the next decade are very young and live in restive areas, with limited economic opportunities and long histories of internal and external strife. … Terrorism, of course, will never disappear, and it will continue to have a destructive impact,” a book excerpt reads.

“But as the terrorists of the future are forced to live in both the physical and the virtual world, their model of secrecy and discretion will suffer. There will be more digital eyes watching, more recorded interactions, and, as careful as even the most sophisticated terrorists are, even they cannot completely hide online.”

It is not only terrorists, however, who will benefit from this more open, connected world that Schmidt and Cohen envision. The duo also write that more revolutions will arise give the greater interconnectedness and visibility available on the Internet.

The Internet itself will become more of a continual presence with the entire world being online by 2020, the pair believes. This prediction includes a push for school children learning about online privacy and security being a more present issue as cloud computing and storage becomes the norm.

This vision is fascinating and looks to be a very interesting read. While the nature of technology itself means that making such predictions is never an easy game, Schmidt and Cohen offer a compelling narrative of how the future might play out.

Image Credit: Google Ideas

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