72 million people with 500 million voices


Jared Cohen, co-author of The New Digital Age with Google’s Eric Schmidt, was recently asked a question about the degree to which technology will undermine autocratic regimes in the future. Cohen replied, 

…Let’s take a country like Iran. 72 million people, roughly 25% of the population connected to the Internet. When everybody in Iran is connected - - everyone has a Gmail account, everyone has a social networking account, every one of them has various voice-over-IP services that they use… The population of Iran in the physical world may still be 72 million people, but in the virtual world it may look like half a billion people. And this presents a serious problem for the regime in Tehran: how do they account for 500 million voices online that are coming from the same 72 million people?

I’ve been trying to find a way to understand and explain some of the non-obvious ways in which it matters that our formerly only-bricks-and-mortar customers are online and connected. This helps. 

Video and event information: Book talk with Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen [quote starts at 5:00]