Miniaturised weapons

Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

Last night I was two metres away from a man worth $7.5 billion. I was at a talk by Eric Schmidt, former CEO and now executive chairman of Google. And unlike your typical academic, he was happy to take questions. So what did go wrong for Google in China? “I negotiated. We lost”, he said. “Can I be more blunt than that?” The focus of his talk was on digital connectivity – ‘Life in our new connected age’ – and he was optimistic. Genocide is a thing of the past, he said. Committing large-scale atrocities is becoming harder because we can now send images and video around the world instantly, making “evil people” – his words – a lot more concerned about accountability. “This is the power of individuals with miniaturised weapons.”

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