December 13

Inventing the Future

Thursday’s Big Idea

Today's Big Idea: Connectivity

Increased connectivity allows for the spread of liberal, open values but also poses a number of dangers. It depends whose hands technology is in. Is it being used by Syrian rebels or a Syrian dictator? Is it being used by law enforcement or a drug cartels?

"The cartels that roam Juarez are savvy," note Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in a Foreign Policy article the two penned together. "Smugglers wear GPS bracelets so they can be tracked — the same blue dots that help smartphone users get from A to B are blipping along in the service of kingpins and their associates."

Now Schmidt and Cohen have announced they are co-authoring a book on the future impact of technology on all aspects of society, a big topic to tackle indeed. We got a special preview of Schmidt and Cohen's ideas this past October at The Nantucket Project, a festival of ideas.

What these two thinkers put on display was a realistic understanding of technology's promise as well as its limitations. "Technology is just a tool," the authors write. "The residents of Juarez told us they desperately want technologies that, when used in the right way by the right people, would make a difference."

  1. 1 Google Ideas: The Future Accordin...
  2. 2 From Crowdsourcing to Crime-sourc...
  3. 3 Cyber War Games: U.S. V. China
  4. 4 Is Google a threat to free culture?
   
  1. Google Ideas: The Future According to Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (It's Good, Not Evil)

    Google Ideas: The Future According to Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (It's Good, Not Evil)

    Will increased connectivity create more good or more evil in the future? Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of the tech giant with the famous founding motto of "Don't be evil," is naturally concerned with this question.  

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  2. From Crowdsourcing to Crime-sourcing: The Rise of Distributed Criminality

    From Crowdsourcing to Crime-sourcing: The Rise of Distributed Criminality

    Crowdsourcing began as a legitimate tool to leverage the wisdom of the crowds to solve complex business and scientific challenges. Unfortunately, these very same techniques are increasingly being adopted by the criminal underground for nefarious purposes.

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  3. Cyber War Games: U.S. V. China

    Cyber War Games: U.S. V. China

    Which country would have the upper hand in a full-scale cyber war between the United States and China?

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  4. Is Google a threat to free culture?

    Is Google a threat to free culture?

    So far, Google's been a friend to free culture, says Jonathan Zittrain.

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