The Digital Age

I recently read Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s book “The New Digital Age”. There were some important themes running through it which were covered well.

  1. The tension between security and privacy. Privacy is for the individual, but security is for organisations at various levels, ultimately of course the state. The text was written before Edward Snowden’s leaks were published. This debate has a long way to go yet.
  2. The significance of on-line connectivity, data permanence and how they affect our identity.
  3. The need for data verification and curation in a world where the volume of data is growing exponentially.

However, I was disappointed with the book overall. The main reason being that it describes a future where the only change from the present is the continuing development and distribution of technology. It assumes the world will stay in all other respects the same as it was in 2013. For me there are some major challenges facing us this century and there is little point in guessing the course of our future without taking these into consideration.

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