Last week, Glenn Beck had Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, and Jared Cohen, Founder and Director of Google Ideas, on his program for a spirited discussion on their book ”The New Digital Age,” which comes out in paperback today.
During their conversation, Beck and the Google executives discussed a wide variety of topics — from flying cars to the Constitution — focusing on the interplay between technological advancement, privacy and security.
One of the technological innovations that Beck believes is useful for understanding the collective consciousness is the “popular notes” feature of Amazon’s Kindle. To that end, we thought compiling the most popular passages from Schmidt and Cohen’s book would prove an apt way to preview the major themes of their work, and provide crowd-sourced insight into the most striking takeaways from the book.
As such, below are the most highlighted passages from “The New Digital Age,” in order from most to least highlights.
“On the world stage, the most significant impact of the spread of communication technologies will be the way they help reallocate the concentration of power away from states and institutions and transfer it to individuals.”
“By 2025, the majority of the world’s population will, in one generation, have gone from having virtually no access to unfiltered information to accessing all of the world’s information through a device that fits in the palm of the hand.”
“Identity will be the most valuable commodity for citizens in the future, and it will exist primarily online.”
“The Internet is the largest experiment involving anarchy in history. Hundreds of millions of people are, each minute, creating and consuming an untold amount of digital content in an online world that is not truly bound by terrestrial laws.”
Loss of privacy
“The impact of this data revolution will be to strip citizens of much of their control over their personal information in virtual space, and that will have significant consequences in the physical world.”
Dissonance between technology and geopolitics
“In the months following our [Schmidt and Cohen's] trip [to Iraq], it became clear to us 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.”
“In this book we aim to demonstrate ways in which the virtual world can make the physical world better, worse or just different.”
Personalization and customization
“The key advance ahead is personalization. You’ll be able to customize your devices—indeed, much of the technology around you—to fit your needs, so that your environment reflects your preferences.”
Humans, not machines control our destiny
“This is a book about technology, but even more, it’s a book about humans, and how humans interact with, implement, adapt to and exploit technologies in their environment, now and in the future, throughout the world. Most of all, this is a book about the importance of a guiding human hand in the new digital age. For all the possibilities that communication technologies represent, their use for good or ill depends solely on people. Forget all the talk about machines taking over. What happens in the future is up to us.”
Don’t say (or type, or “like”) anything you don’t want on the front of the NYT
“Since information wants to be free, don’t write anything down you don’t want read back to you in court or printed on the front page of a newspaper, as the saying goes. In the future this adage will broaden to include not just what you say and write, but the websites you visit, who you include in your online network, what you “like,” and what others who are connected to you do, say and share.”