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If we did the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselvesThomas Edison

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Tools and Weapons

Tools and Weapons

A Microsoft leader reviews the ethical challenges raised by global digitalization.

Author(s): Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Date of publication: 2019

Buy this book [amazon.com]


President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft since 2015, Brad Smith is directly confronted to some of the most pressing ethical challenges of technology. In this book, he urges the Tech sector to more fully assume its responsibilities. Innovating, of course, but not without thinking about the consequences, he essentially advocates. And he also encourages governments to more strongly regulate digital activities—a rather unusual position for a leader in this sector.

What makes his discourse particularly interesting is that it is both nuanced and concrete. For Brad Smith, technology holds as many promises as dangers at its core; it is our choices that finally determine the effects. And these choices are in reality micro-decisions taken every day, rather than major theoretical debates. The author shows so by unveiling the ropes of his job at Microsoft. Every day, his company must make decisions that involve both technology and societal responsibility: respect of privacy, cybersecurity, reliability of AI solutions, etc. Each chapter decodes one of these challenges—and each challenge is explained in a lively manner, through stories of crisis situations, confrontation or cooperation put in place with government agencies, of official and informal discussions with leading personalities. Readers will both fuel their general culture and develop their thinking over the ethical challenges brought by global digitalization.