It’s hard to believe that someone from the heart of Silicon Valley would make a case for greater oversight of the massive corporations that have greater influence than most governments. But that’s exactly what Brad Smith, president of Microsoft Corp., and Carol Ann Browne, the company’s director of communications, say in their book Tools And Weapons : The Promise And The Peril Of The Digital Age. They provide insights into how Microsoft slowly came around to realizing that companies, which create technology that has the power to transform the world, also have a deep responsibility to the society they build for. They focus on the competing priorities corporations face, and talk about Microsoft’s efforts to find a middle ground after ending up in the hot seat two decades ago in the anti-trust case. The authors stress how important it is that “data does not become the province of a few large companies and countries". In Tools And Weapons, Smith and Browne cover 15 issues, from privacy, surveillance and cybersecurity, to protecting democracy, the geopolitics of technology, and artificial intelligence and ethics.
They write, “Tech companies have become too important to the economy to be left to a laissez-faire policy approach. They need to be subject to the rule of law and more active regulation."
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