Eric Schmidt suggested that young people should be entitled to change their identity to escape their misspent youth, which is now recorded in excruciating detail on social networking sites such as Facebook.
“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” Mr Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal.
This is a scary forecast, isn’t it? He’s right, too. We don’t understand the ramifications of what happens when we “put it all out there” for the entire world to see. And our kids especially don’t understand it. They will face an entire lifetime with this kind of lack of privacy, for the rest of us, it’s all still pretty new to our lives.
In an interview Mr Schmidt said he believed that every young person will one day be allowed to change their name to distance themselves from embarrasssing photographs and material stored on their friends’ social media sites.
The 55-year-old also predicted that in the future, Google will know so much about its users that the search engine will be able to help them plan their lives.
Using profiles of it customers and tracking their locations through their smart phones, it will be able to provide live updates on their surroundings and inform them of tasks they need to do.
“We’re trying to figure out what the future of search is,” Mr Schmidt said. “One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type.
“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.”
It sounds like we are looking forward to a future of not one HAL 9000 but a gazillion HALs – all named Google and all inhabiting one giant monolith (pardon the sorta pun, there.) I think I’ve had an epiphany right here and right now! The mystery of the monolith in Kubrick’s movie, and Arthur C. Clarke’s fabulous book, has suddenly made itself known to me. This goes light years beyond cloud computing.
I don’t know that I’m not just a bit bothered that I will have a computer program reminding me that I need to pick up bread and bagels. And I have to disagree with Mr. Schmidt: I DO want google to answer my questions when I have them and I don’t want to be told what I need to do next or more importantly, what I need to PURCHASE next.
Things have become so different since I was in school. We actually used pencils and paper and later on, typewriters. We actually had to look up stuff in — my God — books – some of those were the Encyclopedia Britannica – and take notes. We had to write facts down more than once, which is how we learned those facts.
Now kids have facts at their finger tips and have no need to remember anything, which is what learning is. And it sounds like Google is going to make it easier yet for future generations to remain uneducated.
And one last thing that really disturbs me: I’m finding myself discovering more and more information from the British press than I’m reading from the so-called free press in the U.S.