Published On: Sun, Mar 8th, 2015

Jared Cohen on Changing the World with Google Ideas

Jared Cohen says what was science fiction in the past is now reality

The New Digital Age - 2014 SXSW Music,   Film + Interactive Festival

Jared Cohen, a foreign policy adviser listed by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and currently director of Google Ideas, discussed globalization and security and the digital age.

At the Annenberg Presidential Conference with former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush in attendance, the foreign policy architect under Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton conveyed to the audience how essential technology was to people in parts of the world where the technology is relatively new.

Cohen said, according to, “Every time you look at your mobile device, I want you to imagine there are parts of the world where these devices are so important and so meaningful that people will not only risk their lives, but the lives of family members to gain what little access it offers them.”

As head of Google Ideas, Cohen is developing ways technology can significantly improve lives, from creating prosthetic limbs, to translating conversations in real time. When asked about the ways in which technology can be misused for negative purposes, such as recruiting by the terrorist group ISIS/ISIL, Cohen says the haphazard and oppressive means by which they recruit people to use this technology will lead to a downfall.

“The reality is, ” he said, according to the Eagle, “They are not really that tech savvy. They just use technology a lot and their content is really compelling. It’s actually more of a vulnerability for them than it is an asset.”

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