Skip to main content

technical control center gorodenkoff/Getty Images

Securing the Digital Revolution

The world is hurtling toward a more decentralized digital future, characterized by unprecedented linkages among people, data, and objects. In order to reap the benefits of innovation, without creating massive vulnerabilities, we need to anticipate and address the threats now.

BRUSSELS – Pity the person who invests heavily in canals right before the railways start operating. You could understand, for example, why the sponsor of the Bridgewater Canal (perhaps England’s first) would vehemently oppose the planned Liverpool and Manchester Railway. But the march of technology could not be stopped – nor could the new challenges it raised. The same is true of today’s digital innovations.

When the L&M Railway eventually opened in 1830, it was a revolutionary success, kickstarting the age of steam and changing the world in ways that could not have been foreseen. As the railway age unfolded, with metal tracks spreading across the industrializing world like veins on a leaf, a new level of connectivity was achieved, which criminals were quick to exploit. Indeed, an entire police force eventually had to be created to manage railway security.

With the world on the brink of another revolution in connectivity, especially in terms of infrastructure that will fundamentally change the way we connect with each other, the lessons of this experience should not be ignored. And the coming phase of the digital age will affect far more than just transportation. We are not talking about the Internet of Things, but about the Internet of Everything: a more decentralized digital future, connecting people, data, and objects like never before.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/yETRqN1;
  1. haass105_Gustavo BassoNurPhoto via Getty Images_amazon Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    The Amazon and You

    Richard N. Haass

    Sovereignty entails obligations as well as rights, and where compliance cannot be induced, pressure must be applied. And though positive incentives to encourage and enable compliance would be preferable, Brazil's government is showing that there must be sticks where carrots are not enough.

    2
  2. GettyImages-1151170958 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

    The Meritocracy Muddle

    Eric Posner

    Although populism in Western democracies is nothing new, resentment toward elites and experts has certainly been on the rise. Does this trend reflect a breakdown in the system, or a system that is actually working too well?

    11

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions