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.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
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About the Author
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