Google's Eric Schmidt in New Book: China 'Most Dangerous Superpower'

Monday, 04 Feb 2013 01:39 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has labeled China as the most dangerous superpower on Earth in his book "The New Digital Age," scheduled to hit shelves in April, according to an exclusive preliminary review on the Wall Street Journal's Corporate Intelligence blog.

The book was co-written by Jared Cohen, a 31-year-old former State Department official who now runs Google Ideas, the search engine's think tank. The two collaborated before on "The Digital Disruption," a long essay published in November 2010, predicting the Arab Spring uprisings that began the following month.

"Governments will be caught off-guard when large numbers of their citizens, armed with virtually nothing but cell phones, take part in mini-rebellions that challenge their authority," Schmidt and Cohen wrote then.

The new book picks up where the essay left off, according to Corporate Intelligence, and presents a macro-view on how everything — from individual identities to corporate strategy to terrorism — will change as the world becomes increasingly dependent on the Internet.

China, a dangerously menacing superpower, is "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information" as well as "the most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies, Schmidt and Cohen say.

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, the willingness of China’s government and state companies to commit cybercrimes gives the country an economic and political edge, they continue.

The pair also speculates that the propagandist Internet, sometimes referred to as the "Great Firewall of China," could eventually fracture.

The Internet is partially controlled by an alliance of states that are relatively tolerant and free, and partially controlled by groupings that want their citizens to take part in a less open online life, according to Corporate Intelligence. Companies doing business with the latter could find themselves shunned from the former, the book suggests.

Schmidt and Cohen predict China will see "some kind of revolution in the coming decades" because "this mix of active citizens armed with technological devices and tight government control is exceptionally volatile."

Related stories:

China Without Google: 'A Lose-Lose Scenario'

Google 99.9 Percent Sure Done in China

Google Defends Cooperation With China


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