Google's Chairman of the Board and CEO Eric Schmidt gave a long interview published last weekend with the Wall Street Journal about his view of the future of IT and Google's role in it (or was it the other way around?)
Anyway, CEO Schmidt stated in the interview that:
"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time."
As such, the WSJ says, "He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites."
Hmm...more work for future lawyers, private detectives, and political party opposition researchers.
I wonder if future parents will be able to automatically disown their children as well for their "youthful hijinks."
Kidding aside (or not), CEO Schmidt also said in the interview:
"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions.. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."
"Let's say you're walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, 'we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.' Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are. Mr. Schmidt leaves it to a listener to imagine the possibilities: If you need milk and there's a place nearby to get milk, Google will remind you to get milk. It will tell you a store ahead has a collection of horse-racing posters, that a 19th-century murder you've been reading about took place on the next block."
Hmm.. again. Are we all destined to become Google zombies responding to the all seeing, all knowing, but benevolent Google?
I can see politicians (and children) saying in the future when they get in trouble:
"Google made me do it."
Or possibly worse, thanking Google for all their success.
And no doubt, given all the data they have on you, Google will still know who you are, even if you decide to change your name. Sounds like a good future blackmail and extortion business to be in.
Hmm...maybe I will do what Google tells me to do next.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.