When I saw this book was about to be released I was excited. I thought “cool, a tech book from an exec at a leading tech company!” I really had no expectations about content. You shouldn’t either.

This book is pretty much the standard technological dream stuff. He describes a digital future which sounds about like the book 1984, or some of the other variations of that idea. The book has chapters about different topics, like statehood or something else. Then he tends to begin paragraphs with “In the future state X will bethe case.” As a tech industry expert he has more of a basis for making categorical statements about the future than I do, but I still wouldn’t consider any futurist predictions to be reliable.

The other problem with the book is that it tends to follow a predictable narrative. It is as if Schmidt has this Utopian sort of statehood in mind, and tries to describe how Technology will get us there from the broken sort of reality we are in presently. Spoiler alert, the future is always brighter in this book, but sometimes not in the way you would think. For example, he talks about a future government issued online ID that will take the place of facebook, gmail, or whatever as your login. This will happen so that digital life is more secure in the future, but it will also happen to prevent people from hiding from the system. Hmmm…

All in all, his book follows a predictable tech-as-savior narrative. By that, I mean, the world has problem X, and if we use Y technology, then problem X will be solved. So in his view the future can be better, nearly perfect, IF we adopt the proper technology. Interestingly his negative features of technology all come about from the side of how people use it, and not whether the technology itself is good or bad. I keep thinking that a better statement is that “some technology is better than others, and that “things” will only get better if the right technology is adopted.” Still, as a Christian writing this review it was very noticeable that there is no room for a God who redeems the world in Schmidt’s tech-narrative.

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