Summary of Future Politics

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Important
  • Engaging
  • Eye Opening

Recommendation

The age of Big Brother is no longer the stuff of science fiction. With humanity increasingly tethered to digital devices, nearly every activity, no matter how mundane, serves increasingly as fodder for big data. In this study of how the march of technology will continue to transform society and politics, Jamie Susskind sounds the alarm, but he also points out that the digital future need not be as dystopian as George Orwell envisioned. For instance, though Susskind predicts an age of mass unemployment as robots replace human workers, he is surprisingly sanguine. Automation-led efficiencies will create enough prosperity for governments to expand social safety nets, he argues. Still, Susskind asserts, precautions are needed if democracies and their citizens are to remain free. At times, Susskind seems to get lost in theoretical issues, such as how self-driving cars will impinge on the free will to speed. Even so, it’s an eye-opening tome. getAbstract recommends this engaging study to readers interested in the interplay between technological developments and societal shifts.

About the Author

Jamie Susskind is an author, speaker, and practicing barrister. He is a past Fellow of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

 

Summary

Powerful New Tools in the Hands of a Few

Technology is changing the world in profound ways. While many leaders choose to lie low and accept the shifts wrought by technology, it’s important for everyone in a position of responsibility to prepare for the vast sweep of the digital revolution which will transform human society. The tech revolution promises to be every bit as monumental as the industrial revolution, the agricultural revolution or even the development of human language itself. Yet it too often seems that digital tools are being developed with little thought as to their broader impacts on society. Students studying for degrees in science, technology, engineering or math rarely encounter courses on political philosophy or social policy. By the same token, most liberal arts majors lack deep understanding of how technology works.

The tunnel vision surrounding digital development extends to Silicon Valley’s tech firms. Engineers strive to solve specific challenges, but they aren’t asked to examine how their work might affect the world. This failure to consider the widespread implications of tech innovations...


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