As the internet continues to enable new technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain to develop, rapid-fire innovations are upending our society. In business, communications, personal privacy, education, and media, applications for these powerful technologies are often vast and overwhelming. Amidst such radical shifts, it’s easy to think that this rate of change is unprecedented. But previous periods of upheaval—such as the printing press in the 15th century, as well as the combination of the railroad and telegraph in the 19th century– left our ancestors just as bewildered by the disruptions taking place in the networks of their society.
On March 12, Brookings Visiting Fellow and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler debuted his new book, “From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future.” Wheeler was joined at Brookings by Rep. Mike Doyle, Cecilia Kang of The New York Times, and Brookings Senior Fellow EJ Dionne. The panel discussion explored major themes from the book, including the relationship between public policy and technological development, and how insights from the past can prepare us for the future.
After the discussion, speakers answered questions from the audience.
To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.
We have become so dependent on technology — we use it for our groceries, we tap into it for our health care. And these companies have created a new stream of jobs, as we’ve seen other industries disrupted over the course of not just the pandemic, but the last few years. [...] We’re missing opportunities when we dismiss the potential of technology, not just from a consumption standpoint, but from a production and development standpoint.