Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age
By Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne Foreword by Bill Gates
About the book
Microsoft President Brad Smith operates by a simple core belief: when your technology changes the world, you bear a responsibility to help address the world you have helped create.
While today’s technologies offer unprecedented platforms for progress and connect people across the globe like never before, they have also unleashed many challenging issues of our time, from cyber warfare to the spread of misinformation on social media to the moral conundrums of AI. Information technology has become both a powerful tool and a formidable weapon, creating a set of challenges with no pre-existing playbook.
In Tools and Weapons, Smith and Browne present an insightful and actionable plan to confront these challenges. They argue that as technology advances, the work to oversee it—led by both the tech industry and governments—needs to speed up as well.
First released in 2019, the book opens the curtain remarkably wide on many of Microsoft’s own recent crucial decision points, as the company strives to protect the hopes technology offers against the very real threats it also presents. In 2021, new material to the paperback edition updates the book’s original argument with a fresh look at the technological issues as they exist in 2021, including cybersecurity, digital sovereignty and tech in a pandemic. The tech world has undoubtedly changed since 2019, but Smith’s impassioned advocacy for collaboration and government intervention is even more timely in 2021, given the issues facing the world today.
Coverage of the book
What people are saying
Praise for Tools and Weapons
Taming Big Tech will not be easy, but this book . . . shows where to start.
— The Financial Times
Brad Smith has emerged as a vocal and principled thought leader addressing how technology can either help uphold or undermine human rights. As digital technology continues to proliferate, these issues will only grow in importance and command more of the world’s attention.
— Amal Clooney, international human rights lawyer and co-founder and president, Clooney Foundation for Justice
This is a colorful and insightful insiders’ view of how technology is both empowering us and threatening us. From privacy to cyberattacks, this timely book is a useful guide for how to navigate the digital future.
— Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of The Innovators and Steve Jobs