Summary of Pax Technica

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Oxford University sociology professor Philip N. Howard offers a fascinating look at the Internet of Things (IoT). He carefully considers the political implications of the IoT, including how the way it is connecting the world will change political reality. His analysis is intelligent, informed, intriguing and flat-out terrifying. For example, consider his description of how China is building its own Internet or the way various groups are using bots to disrupt politics, society and the economy. In sum, he analyzes why organizations and governments must reach a “Pax Technica,” or technological peace. getAbstract recommends Howard’s comprehensive, futurist report to politicians, investors, students and anyone interested in technological change, social order or a unique historical perspective on contemporary times.

About the Author

Oxford University sociology professor Philip N. Howard, PhD, has written eight books, including The Digital Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship and Democracy’s Fourth Wave: Digital Media and the Arab Spring. He contributes to Slate, The Atlantic and other media outlets.



The Internet of Things

Within a few years, a “world of connected devices” will surround you and just about everyone else. This Internet of Things (IoT) will go beyond computers and phones – which function in the wired world as intended – to include all manner of personal, household and other goods, such as clothing and appliances, all working in a connected network that is invisible to the individual user. People won’t experience the IoT directly. Instead, objects will communicate and operate without humans knowing it. No one knows how many devices the IoT will link together, but given that Earth’s population in 2020 will be some eight billion people, a good estimate might include three or four “connected devices” for each person. Information technology is now central to all aspects of life. People must work with it to create the future they want.

The Internet of Things will produce the “Pax Technica” – a historical period during which “institutions and network devices” will tie the private and public sectors together in the areas of defense, design, standards and data use. This model will transform governments from “representative systems” to “sociotechnical ...

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