At a protest in Turkey against the Syrian regime, a demonstrator takes pictures with her mobile phone which is painted with the colours of the Syrian independence flag. (Reuters)
A new book by Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Google Ideas director Jared Cohen plots out the future of digital technology, with an emphasis on global affairs. The New Digital Age foresees, in the not too distant future that, though wars may become more common as the costs to engage decrease, death tolls will fall as robot soldiers take to the battlefield. The book envisions whole governments being backed up in the online cloud where data becomes less vulnerable to physical disaster. Other chapters from the book consider the evolution of citizenship, states, revolution, terrorism, and foreign aid as impacted by digital technologies. The authors conclude that the new digital age is unpredictable, but that on the whole, it will be a brighter place because of electronic technology.
That the book delves so deeply into technology's impact on the world stage is no surprise given the authors' other interests. Cohen was an adviser to Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton at the State Department, and Schmidt seems to be embracing a role as corporate statesman, having just made high-profile trips to North Korea and Myanmar.