Book on digital age by Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna creates buzz

WASHINGTON, Feb 15: A book on the digital age by Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, that seeks to democratise the digital revolution in the larger good of humanity and the planet, has been getting rare reviews and accolades from the top American politicians and global economists.
In his rare foreword to a book, eminent economist and Noble Laureate Amartya Sen writes that “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us” by Congressman Khanna offers a graceful picture of the coexistence of disparate ways of living, allowing justice and fairness.
Sen describes 45-year-old Khanna, a Democratic politician, as an “innovative social thinker.”
The book, which hit the bookstores early this month, has climbed up the best sellers’ list and has received accolades from the tech industry as well, including Microsoft’s Indian-origin CEO Satya Nadella.
“Whether we consider the future of America, or of other places, we have reason to be grateful to Ro Khanna,” he writes in the book.
Former US president Bill Clinton, who rarely comments on others’ books, tweeted that “Dignity in a Digital Age” is full of good ideas for creating opportunities in places across America that have been left out and left behind for too long.
“We should all work together to make them a reality and spread the benefits of technology to every American,” he wrote in his tweet.
Khanna, the three-term Congressman from California, writes that the book imagines how the digital economy can create opportunities for people where they live instead of uprooting them.
It offers a vision for decentralising digital innovation and wealth generation to build economically vibrant and inclusive communities that are connected to each other, he wrote.
“We need a development strategy that fosters a nucleus of tech jobs with myriad applications for different industries and local entrepreneurs in thousands of rural and underrepresented communities across our nation.
“The digital revolution is reshaping our economy and society, but it continues to sideline, exclude, upend, and manipulate too many in the process. My aim is to advance our democratic values by empowering all of us to direct and steer these digital forces,” wrote the Congressman who represents Silicon Valley in the US House of Representatives.
“Today, I represent a district that is home to Apple, Google, Intel, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn and Tesla,” he said.
In a recent interview to The New York Times, which gave a positive review of the book, Khanna said that Silicon Valley overall is an extraordinary place of innovation, of entrepreneurship, of high achievement.
“But I don’t think it has lived up to its responsibilities in a democratic society,” he told the daily.
“Khanna rattles off an array of initiatives that would harness the resources of the federal government to the agility of the private sector, building ‘digital grant colleges’ inside the country’s 112 land-grant universities to teach applied technology skills, underwriting apprenticeship programmes at tech companies, creating a ‘national digital corps’ as a kind of Peace Corps for rural America,” wrote The New York Times.
Khanna spares no punches about Congress’ inability to regulate tech companies in his book, The Washington Post wrote in its review of the book.
“The dirty secret in Silicon Valley is that Congress will hold a hearing every few months, yell at a CEO or accuse them of theft to launch a viral clip, maybe even publish a blistering report — but then nothing changes and nothing happens,” Khanna writes.
According to The Washington Post, in the book, Khanna lays out a governmental and societal road map for how to deal with industry abuses, while also spreading Silicon Valley’s wealth and opportunities around the country.
“Couldn’t agree more” with Clinton, tweeted Paris Hilton.
“! I’m so grateful @RoKhanna is also championing The Accountability for Congregate Care Act which puts protections in place for institutionalized youth in America!” she said in a tweet. (PTI)