Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

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Overview

The instant New York Times bestseller.

From Microsoft's president and one of the tech industry's broadest thinkers, a frank and thoughtful reckoning with how to balance enormous promise and existential risk as the digitization of everything accelerates.

“A colorful and insightful insiders’ view of how technology is both empowering and threatening us. From privacy to cyberattacks, this timely book is a useful guide for how to navigate the digital future.” —Walter Isaacson

Microsoft President Brad Smith operates by a simple core belief: When your technology changes the world, you bear a responsibility to help address the world you have helped create. This might seem uncontroversial, but it flies in the face of a tech sector long obsessed with rapid growth and sometimes on disruption as an end in itself. While sweeping digital transformation holds great promise, we have reached an inflection point. The world has turned information technology into both a powerful tool and a formidable weapon, and new approaches are needed to manage an era defined by even more powerful inventions like artificial intelligence. Companies that create technology must accept greater responsibility for the future, and governments will need to regulate technology by moving faster and catching up with the pace of innovation.

In Tools and Weapons, Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne bring us a captivating narrative from the cockpit of one of the world's largest and most powerful tech companies as it finds itself in the middle of some of the thorniest emerging issues of our time. These are challenges that come with no preexisting playbook, including privacy, cybercrime and cyberwar, social media, the moral conundrums of artificial intelligence, big tech's relationship to inequality, and the challenges for democracy, far and near. While in no way a self-glorifying "Microsoft memoir," the book pulls back the curtain remarkably wide onto some of the company's most crucial recent decision points as it strives to protect the hopes technology offers against the very real threats it also presents. There are huge ramifications for communities and countries, and Brad Smith provides a thoughtful and urgent contribution to that effort.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984877727
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 49,108
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Brad Smith is Microsoft's president, where he leads a team of more than 1,400 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals working in 56 countries. He plays a key role in spearheading the company's work on critical issues involving the intersection of technology and society, including cybersecurity, privacy, artificial intelligence, human rights, immigration, philanthropy and environmental sustainability. The Australian Financial Review has described Smith as "one of the technology industry's most respected figures," and the New York Times has called him "a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large."

Carol Ann Browne is senior director of communications and external relations at Microsoft. Browne and Smith have collaborated on a wide variety of writing, video, and other external engagements around the world, including their Today in Technology blog series.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bill Gates ix

Introduction: THE CLOUD: The World's Filing Cabinet xiii

Chapter 1 SURVEILLANCE: A Three-Hour Fuse 1

Chapter 2 TECHNOLOGY AND PUBLIC SAFETY: "I'd Rather Be a Loser Than a Liar" 21

Chapter 3 PRIVACY: A Fundamental Human Right 39

Chapter 4 CYBERSECURITY: The Wake-up Call for the World 61

Chapter 5 PROTECTING DEMOCRACY: "A Republic, If You Can Keep It" 77

Chapter 6 SOCIAL MEDIA: The Freedom That Drives Us Apart 89

Chapter 7 DIGITAL DIPLOMACY: The Geopolitics of Technology 109

Chapter 8 CONSUMER PRIVACY: "The Guns Will Turn" 131

Chapter 9 RURAL BROADBAND: The Electricity of the Twenty-first Century 151

Chapter 10 THE TALENT GAP: The People Side of Technology 169

Chapter 11 AI AND ETHICS: Don't Ask What Computers Can Do, Ask What They Should Do 191

Chapter 12 AI AND FACIAL RECOGNITION: Do Our Faces Deserve the Same Protection as Our Phones? 211

Chapter 13 AI AND THE WORKFORCE: The Day the Horse Lost Its Job 231

Chapter 14 THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA: A Bipolar Tech World 249

Chapter 15 DEMOCRATIZING THE FUTURE: The Need for an Open Data Revolution 269

Chapter 16 CONCLUSION: Managing Technology That Is Bigger Than Ourselves 287

Acknowledgments 305

Notes 309

Index 337

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