When I first picked up "The New Digital Age" written by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen last month, I expected a Google sized view of the future of business. I could be forgiven for such thinking because the authors are none other than Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and Jared Cohen, founder of Google Ideas.
Instead, I found the book to be a powerful treatise on the intersection of geopolitics, digital technologies and the reallocation of power. Early in the opening paragraphs, Schmidt and Cohen state that "…there is a canyon dividing people who understand technology and people charged with addressing the world’s toughest geopolitical issues, and no one has built a bridge". Will the highly technologically literate geopolitician will be the future master of global trade? Clearly the authors make a compelling case.
Schmidt and Cohen argue that connectivity will upend power imbalance with encrypted platforms and anonymous information sharing. The authors foresee that corruption and personal scandals in democratic countries will be more difficult to get away with in an age of connectedness. "Technological solutions will protect only a distinct technically savvy minority, and only temporarily". Digital citizenry will outpace the government’s ability to govern citizen working virtually.