The New Banality — a review of The New Digital Age

The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business

The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

Since I read This Machine Kills Secrets first, this book seems particularly dangerous to the web as a whole. Universal User Registration? A supranational committee for quarantining non-conforming IPs? This is a company guy and a government guy trying to organize and regulate the internet. Schmidt and Cohen speak as the establishment, and some of their proposals will scare proponents of the open Web. Many of their other proposals are basically blue-sky-solutioneering. I think this book will appeal to those already in power, which is disappointing because I find their view is far too statist and establishment to reflect the true disruptive power and decentralized nature that Web connectivity gives us. I suspect policy writers will point to this book as a mandate from the “tech elite” which makes it an important read. Study it closely and highlight as much as you can. There are many layers here. Think of who the messages are intended for, and be very critical in your assessment.

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I wrote most of the above early last month on Goodreads. Today Julian Assange released an op-ed in The New York Times that basically mirrored my thoughts. Two choice quotes:

The prose is terse, the argument confident and the wisdom — banal. But this isn’t a book designed to be read. It is a major declaration designed to foster alliances.

But this is essential reading for anyone caught up in the struggle for the future, in view of one simple imperative: Know your enemy.

Author: Chad Kohalyk

Bellatrist, communitarian, tech contrarian. Generous with Likes. http://chadkohalyk.com