Saturday, June 15, 2013

The New Digital Age

The years ahead will confront us with potentially life altering questions. Much more so, major international events and change, if not immediate, are in our future.

Lillian and I have been married for a little more than 17 years, and yesterday we briefly looked back on what has happened during that time. For sure, much has changed, and change only seems to speed up - in every respect.

Having read Eric Schmidt's and Jared Cohen's book "The New Digital Age" my awareness of what the future holds has again grown to a higher level. Coupled with the recent news about PRISM and Edward Snowden's courageous whistleblowing, we are witnesses to a complex situation which plays out on "both sides" (depending on how one sees the world).

In particular, I believe Schmidt and Cohen are right about China:

"...China's future will not necessarily be bright. Some interpret projections of declining economic growth, an aging population and technology-driven change as indications that the Chinese state will soon be fighting for survival in its current form, while others suggest instead that these impending challenges will ultimately spur even more innovation and problem-solving from China. But ultimately it is difficult for us to imagine how a closed system with 1.3 billion people, huge socioeconomic challenges, internal ethnic issues and robust censorship will survive the transition to the new digital age in its current form. With greater connectivity will come greater expectations, demands and accountability that even the world's largest surveillance state will not be able to control fully. In instances where law enforcement goes too far or cronies of the regime engage in reckless behavior that causes physical harm to Chinese citizens, we will see more public movements demanding accountability. Because ministers loathe embarrassment, pressure from weibos and other online forums can result in more pressure and change, eventually curbing the excesses of one-party rule."

Change is upon us, and, certainly, in ever increasing speed.

Today I'm adding Edward Snowden to my List of Great People - not because he wants the recognition, but because he's willing to dedicate his life to liberty. May we all be united in the same noble cause.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. The whistleblower debate reminds me of the article I wrote about transparency and secrecy two years ago (that time it was about Wikileaks)
    And I say now as I say then: "A society is only democratic if a citizenry can protest against and stop government actions which they do not agree with, and such reaction is impossible if the actions of their government are kept secret."