Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Schmidt (executive chair and former CEO, Google) and Cohen (director, Google Ideas; Council on Foreign Relations) provide a compelling view of the world in which the digitized virtual realm is as real and critical as the flesh-and-blood, bricks-and-mortar, and rocks-and-trees physical realm. The presentation covers a broad range of technology and civic affairs. The primary technological focus is on the transformative role of ubiquitous and affordable personal communication devices. The authors lay out the implications of extreme connectivity against themes of individual and group privacy; revolutions against tyrannical states; terrorist threats and countermeasures; international conflicts; and reconstruction following conflicts. The presentation is a coherent and compelling narrative backed by 40 pages of source citations. The book is neither prescriptive nor fatalistic. Schmidt and Cohen emphasize that global social structures are undergoing unprecedented changes, and that decisions must be made that will affect both the trajectory and end points of those changes across the globe. They make clear just how critical, and potentially devastating, decisions about the use of technology will be as society progresses more deeply into the digital era. Citizens and policy makers alike will benefit from the presentation. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. C. Vickery Queens College of CUNY
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
If prominence correlates with the attention paid to a prognosticator, there will be great interest in the outlook for the Internet, according to Google executive Schmidt. With Cohen, Schmidt addresses incipient trends in an individual's engagement with the Internet to introduce his main subject, how nation-states and businesses will capitalize or cope with the velocity, connectivity, and mutation of the Internet. In the authors' analysis, governments and companies face in the virtual world, as they have in the physical world, an intelligence challenge. Referencing Internet incidents galore, they warn of a perpetual code war between attackers and defenders and expand upon this type of conflict within authoritarian and democratic states. Citing the Arab Spring as an example, Schmidt and Cohen predict that its online propagation presages an easier initiation of future revolutions, which nevertheless face uncertain outcomes when they encounter, as they eventually must, the material powers of a state. Peering forward to the Internet's influence on international affairs, this work of futurology combines optimism and pessimism in an informed and levelheaded presentation.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist