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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Book Review of “The Great Tech Game” by Anirudh Suri

Title: The Great Tech Game: Shaping Geopolitics and the Destiny of Nations
Author: Anirudh Suri
Publication Place: Noida, India
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Date of Publication: 2022
Edition: First Edition
Pages: 432
ISBN: 978-9354895298


The main argument that the author, Anirudh Suri presents in ‘The Great Tech Game’ is that technology itself has grown to be the axis around which global power dynamics revolve. This fundamentally changes the geopolitical scene and national fortunes. Suri hopes to clarify how countries should manoeuvre through this tech terrain with finesse, not only to maintain geopolitical power but to further reinforce it. He accomplishes this objective, through explicit analysis. He provides a complete guide with a structured framework. At the end of the day, the tech has gone global and you either play the game, or you get played.

The Great Tech Game consists of four basic eras of technological influence: the Industrial Game, the Digital Game, the game of data and the AI game. Every wave of new tech that creates the next great tech company opts for a new kind of leadership and a new source of power.

The Industrial Game phase focuses mainly on the era of manufacturing and physical goods. Industrial capacity and manufacturing prowess were the main determinants of a state’s influence on the global stage. Countries such as the United States and Germany, which mastered the art of industrial production were able to wield significant geopolitical power and dominate the international markets.

The advent of the internet and various other digital technologies shifted the global landscape to look more toward new software and digital platforms. The Digital Game showcases how companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook have become giant powerhouses through their ability to create digital ecosystems that millions of people use daily. Nations that fostered these digital giants in their advancement gained significant strategic advantages over their counterparts.

The Data Game highlights the importance of data control. Described as the new oil, data is an essential resource that sustains not only business decisions but also national security. Countries and corporations that are designed to collect, analyse, and utilise this data effectively are set to lead innovation and economic growth. This phase comes with its own set of challenges, as explained by Suri. Nations would now have to step up their game to deal with issues like data privacy, security and data governance.

Suri also talks about the world’s progression into the current and most advanced phase of these; artificial intelligence and machine learning, referred to as the AI Game. Countries that focus on research and development in the field of AI and its deployment in other fields can dramatically alter industries, amp up their military capabilities and transform societies. The book explores the impact of AI on employment, ethics and global power structures. This phase emphasizes the potential of AI to transmogrify all the stations of life.

The book further investigates how leading countries like the United States, China and India are scrambling to dominate in each of these phases, through an intensive analysis of their national policies, investment patterns and educational reforms. We can also see the ethical implications of these technologies, raising concerns related to cybersecurity, privacy and the digital divide. Suri emphasizes that the need of the hour is to develop strategies that would promote inclusive growth and responsible development while navigating this highly complex tech game.

 One of the greatest advantages of ‘The Great Tech Game’ is its all-over coverage. Suri treats sweeping ground, covering the history of events, present trends and future projections, giving the book a sense of depth combined with contemporaneity. His writing is readable, putting complex political and technological ideas in a way that people have different perspectives. Moreover, the diversified case studies and examples from many countries give a global, all-around view of technological competition.

Suri’s structured approach, breaking down the tech game into four distinct phases, allows readers to grasp the progression of technological influence and its implications on global power dynamics. Each phase is well-argued, with very relevant examples and case studies to drive the point home. Such linkage of technological advancement with geopolitical strategies brings out the clear meaning of what technology stands to offer in terms of geopolitical gains to these nations.

 However, the book’s breadth impinges on its depth. Although touching on many important matters, Suri’s book may sometimes seem shallow to readers looking for a more thorough insight into a particular area of technology or policy. The discussion on the influence of AI is great, for example, but since AI technologies are progressing quite fast, some points can therefore be superficially talked about in this light.

Additionally, with the pace at which technological changes happen, some of Suri’s predictions and analyses may become irrelevant very quickly, making the book non-time-resistant. The dynamism of technology is such that new insights can quickly render the landscapes so different and insights inapplicable with time.

Overall, The Great Tech Game is a major contribution toward understanding the role played by technology in global geopolitics. Its coverage is broad and its language clear, so it helps inform policymakers, business leaders and scholars about most aspects of the subject. Of course, the flip side is that the general spread of the book across the gamut of issues means that not all details are gone into deeply; nevertheless, Suri manages very adroitly to emphasize how critically important technological innovation is in re-imagining the future of nations. Especially at this moment, when the tech landscape is fluidly unpredictable, the book offers several salient points to future-proof a nation.

Suri impresses with his ability to subdue complex information into a coherent narrative. The strength of this book lies in a holistic view of technology’s impact on geopolitics and the advice given to policymakers in the period of change. However, its weaknesses are the very vast scope and the rapidly changing nature of technology, which renders not a few parts of the analysis relatively shallow and potentially outdated. However, ‘The Great Tech Game’ remains an important resource for understanding the interaction of global structures and power in the 21st century.

 ‘The Great Tech Game’ by Anirudh Suri is critical and timely in really getting at how technology is shaping global power dynamics and nation destinies. Suri provides a well-structured analysis, frosted by the framework of four distinct phases, where each one represents a period of significant technology-driven change—from the Industrial Game to the AI Game. Its comprehensively large scope, accessible writing, and diverse case studies make it an invaluable resource for scholars, politicians, and business leaders when trying to understand and orient themselves in the tech-driven global arena.

This book is a good recommendation to read, especially for those wishing to understand the profound implications of technological change in global power structures. ‘The Great Tech Game’ is an important element in the discussion about geopolitics and technology because it presents strategic insight and practical recommendations for those who want to fare successfully in the global tech landscape, which is growingly multifaceted and competitive.

Reviewed by: 
Angel Chindalia
RLA Research Intern

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