I wanted to close the conference by talking for just a minute or two about a few things,
take your questions, and then we’ll have Nikesh come up on the stage and thank everybody as
well. I’m really quite convinced that we’re just
at the beginning of the age of the Internet. When I think about all the things that are
happening, it’s interesting, you know, John Gardner once said, “History never looks like
history when you’re living through it.” But, in fact, we are at the beginning of something
much, much larger than we really understand. The Internet is making the world more open,
fairer, more prosperous. I’m quite convinced of this. We have lots and lots of data to
prove this. But I believe we’re right. The Internet is very transformative. I mean,
it’s — if you look, the Egyptian uprising succeeded because the Web allowed people to
sort of talk and communicate and organize in a new way.
Look at the Japanese earthquake, right, look at all the support people were able to muster
and help and find people and so forth and so on.
And Google, lots and lots of stories here in the U.K., though Europe’s largest online
jewelry store, launched because of the Web. An appliance store in Peterborough doubled
its turnover. A gift shop in Enfield achieved a 31% return in investment. Over and over
and over again. And you’ve heard some of the stories today in the breakout sessions and
so forth. And I think part of this is because the Internet
has fundamentally transformed the way we access and share information. Governments are being
held more accountable. Whether you like the government or you don’t like the government,
there’s no question the Internet allows the government to sort of be inspected, the various
mistakes that the governments make, especially the ones that are not democracies and so forth
and so on. And the only way to resist these movements
is massive censorship or massive block being which has been attempted and largely fails,
I might add. People are empowered through these communities.
The saying that one friend told me was we use Facebook to schedule the protest, Twitter
to coordinate them, and YouTube to tell the world.
Pretty nice little role for all of us, to bring freedom to people who have had a lot
of trouble. And what’s interesting is that the barriers
to human potential, whether it’s businesses, it’s like low barriers to entry, zero switching
cost, reduced cost of cloud computing, all of those are becoming globalized. And anyone
can get access to information. The thing I am proudest of of all of this is we are in
a declining cost industry. So it used to be stuff we did in groups like this, we would
be only talking about the elites. The rich western small populations. But the businesses,
the technologies, everything, all the things that we’re working on, are becoming available
to more and more people globally. Depending on what assumptions you make, 1
to 2 billion more people will enter the global conversation through mobile phones over the
next three to four years. Some percentage of those will be smartphones. The prices of
smartphones are dropping quite dramatically. We’re obviously helping there with our Android
policies and so forth and so on. And I would argue that the Internet ultimately creates
happier societies, and happier societies are safer societies.
So there’s a pretty big impact on this. And this of course continues because of Moore’s
law. Moore’s law is going to continue for another 5, 10, 20 years. Mathematically, it’s
doubling of chip density every two years, which is roughly improvements by a factor
of 30 or so every decade. Compounding, compounding and compounding. So for 20 years, that’s a
thousand times. Do the math. It’s really, really remarkable.
And we have been talking about this revolution for a long, long time. If you go back and,
again, using your favorite search engine, do a little research about people like myself
and others said 10 or 15 years ago, we had similar visions but the technology didn’t
work. We had to have the broadband revolution, we had to have the wireless revolution, we
had to have the wireless data revolution, all the capital, all the partnerships, all
the investments by the telcos and so forth and so on.
And of course what’s happening now is everybody is spending their time talking about new problems
and opportunities and issues. Everyone is saying, well, there’s this problem and that
problem. How to make the world more open? Well, respecting
people’s privacy. It’s a very important issue, one which society should debate, but it’s
a topic that’s real because of the opportunity before us. How do we empower people without
promoting anarchy? Nobody wants anarchy. It’s the same argument.
How do we ensure that the explosion in data, which is the sort of thing that’s underlying
a lot of this, won’t overwhelm everybody? It’s interesting that one person made the
prediction, which I find hard to see as true but it’s worth actually claiming, anyway,
analyzing, in two years information will double every 11 hours at the current scalable growth
rates. Now, obviously something will hold that back.
By the year 2029, $100 will buy 11 petabytes of storage in a hard drive at current density
growth rates. That’s 600 years — I did the math. 600 years of 24-hour continuous DVD-quality
video. So you’re born, they give you this, and when you die at age 90 or 100 or whatever,
you have only gotten one-sixth and you have been sleeping one-third of the time when you
were broadcasting the video to. I mean, it’s crazy. It gives you a sense of the scale of
what these things can do. So in any case, how do we know this is a good
prospect? What would happen if we turned the Internet off right now? People have tried.
Would it be worth — Obviously without the Internet we would lose this force of democratization
and global understanding. And I would argue that the Internet is the greatest guarantor
of economic growth we have now globally. That the platform — And we have all the statistics;
right? Companies and countries and so forth that are investing in this, they really are
getting the economic benefit of broader markets, greater access to customers, greater customer
service, greater innovation, faster development cycles and so forth and so on.
And also we would also lose, if we didn’t have the Internet, we would lose this ability
to harness all the data that’s around there. So all of this has been achieved essentially
through innovation. And the innovation that is driving this is the innovation of two — two
young graduate students who break out of Stanford and found Google. There are many, many stories
of that similar, and new generation of these. Many people here have similar paths. Innovation
from new ideas. People who yearn for something that they can’t do.
These are people who say why not, why can’t I, why can’t we, why isn’t this possible,
as opposed to why; right? It’s a different bias. And it’s, I think,
a fundamental bias. It’s interesting, when I think about it, this
is my phone. When I was at Sun in 1983, I had a 3M machine which was one megabyte of
RAM, one megahertz of processor, and one megapixel display, and I was the coolest guy around.
This thing has got 16 gigabytes of flash, one gigahertz processor, and its camera alone
is a 5 megapixel camera. And that’s just the model from three months ago, and the product
cycles are every six months. We forget how far this stuff has gone and
so forth and so on. It’s funny, I used to say to myself, I just
dreamt of having one megabit continuous connection, because then I could do my email when I was
wandering around and wandering around Europe and so forth and so on.
Today, of course, I am not satisfied. I want 10 megabits.
Well, now with LTE, which was, of course, a European GSM standard, its spec is around
50 megabits and the measured performance on the LTE networks is somewhere between 20 and
30 megabits, and it works; right? Google is, among other things, investing in
truly gigabit-speed fiber networks; right? To the home and for businesses and so forth.
It just continues. Think about what we’re going to do with all of those.
So from my perspective, when I put all this together, and I add all this, you have got
innovation, which has to be adopted by society. Look at the numbers. I mean, you have got
YouTube’s growth; right? I have got the numbers. Every minute there is 35 hours of new content
uploaded. Think about T instead of wasting time watching television, you can waste your
time watching the Internet. Basically, it’s a truly global phenomena of
a scale that we have never seen. Android, 400,000 devices activated every day, and that
number, again, is growing very dramatically. It’s now the number one position. Chrome,
160 million users and growing. Again, it’s double from the last year, and on and on and
on. So my point here, and I will finish, is to
say that we are in the midst — I think part of the reason you are here, part of the reason
we are here is we are in the midst of something much larger than any of us and much larger
than the companies we represent. It’s something which is transformative at the societal level,
at the economic level, and I would argue it’s something that is really better for society
at every level from the standpoint of democracy and peace and making the world a better place.
So with that, what I thought we would do is ask for maybe questions or comments. People
have been sitting around for a while. Questions on this or anything else.
So who would like to ask a question? Yes, we have some mics. Yes, go ahead.
>>Joe Garner: Joe Garner, Deputy CEO of HSBC Bank PLC.
And a comment from the old economy, if I can. I have been lucky enough to come to five Zeitgeist
–>>Eric Schmidt: You never say “old.” The real
economy. How is that?>>Joe Garner: This is the fifth time I have
come to Zeitgeist, and it’s a real privilege to get to come along to something like this.
And, actually, “something like this,” I don’t think there is anything else like this. I
think it’s really unique. And every year I have come away with this
sort of richness of thoughts and ideas which I have tried to sort of do something with
with varying degrees of success. And, in fact, our I.T. department has come to dread these
two days because they know tomorrow they are going to get a list of completely unworkable
ideas from me.>>Eric Schmidt: You travel, you come back
with a long list of action items. That’s good.>>Joe Garner: But if you multiply it up by
all the people that have been through these events over the years and all the things that
have come out of it, it must have been an enormous contribution not just to technology,
to business, but also to the communities, both global and local, in which we all work
and live. And really what I wanted to say is thank you
for doing this and to really encourage you to keep leading with such a strong positive
example. Thank you.
>>Eric Schmidt: Well, thank you very much. [ Applause ]
>>Eric Schmidt: Thank you. And you stole my ending line, but Lorraine and Nikesh and the
team that puts this together, this has turned out to be a great success for Google because
we like to lead with ideas; right? We actually just — If you think about — think about
the power of ideas and think about what they do. Smart people take new ideas and they change
the world; right? And that’s why you are all here. And this is videotaped and as you know
broadcast, and a lot of people watch this on our favorite television station, YouTube.
More questions or comments on this or anything else?
We will wait until someone asks a question. Yes. Yes, sir.
Do you mind using the mic so that they can hear you on the video?
And we have a mic here and a mic here, and one over there.
>>Richard Serunjogi: Can everybody hear me? Okay.
>>Eric Schmidt: Yes. Go ahead.>>Richard Serunjogi: My name is Richard, and
I am one of the 12 Young Minds Zeitgeists, and it’s the first time ever, actually, that
Google Zeitgeist actually had young people at the event. And I would just like to say
thank you. I think it was Amy who works for Google who
put this together, and credit must also go to Livity who conducted the search.
One of the things I am really interested to hear about is exactly young people who want
to get involved but might not quite be within Google to take part in your dragon’s den sessions
actually get their ideas inside Google and help, you know, change the world around us.
The second thing I would like to know is what is your vision for the world in 2040, which
I’m sure that many of — myself and my 11 colleagues will actually be helping to shape.
What is your vision?>>Eric Schmidt: Well, I hope to be around
in 2040, so we will come back to that. The simplest way to help is to start to use
the platforms that Google and others are building, and to use them to do something important.
Strategically, the industry is moving to a standard called HTML5, which is a new browser
standard. So if you were, for example, to start building knowledge bases and systems
that used HTML5 which would run on all of the Google properties as well as all of our
competitor properties, you can take your ideas and you could get an audience of a billion
people on all the phones, and so forth and so on.
And that’s the simplest sort of thing that you can do in the short term.
In terms of idea generation, we run lots and lots of ways of talking about things. Jared,
of course, is doing Google Ideas. We have many other initiatives like that.
But I always like to say you need to, either yourself or have someone working with you,
be able to use these platforms — and I’m including people like Facebook and Apple and
so forth and so on — to get your idea across, to do your data collection, to actually have
an impact. You have to put some work into it, in addition
to making the idea itself, right? Ideas by themselves don’t happen. It’s idea
plus implementation. And if your idea is good, you’ll be amazed how many people will come
along and help you. In Google’s case, we have this 20% time notion,
so if you were an engineer at Google, what would happen is you would have this brilliant
idea at 20% and you would show it off to your friends and you’d be amazed how many of them
drop their 20% time and all of a sudden they’re working full-time with you and then a whole
new product line comes. That’s innovation works at Google and I think
it’s a pretty good model for everybody else. With respect to the world in 2040, it’s actually
worth — I’ve been doing some work on this, trying to think about the compounding.
There’s an error that is made by — and you did it with some of the numbers I did, just
to sort of show you the math — that compounding rates don’t continue forever, right? That
there are various asymptotes with the numbers. But a reasonable expectation would say a couple
of things. That the global structure of sort of the four to five large horsemen that sort
of run the globe, which would be India, China, the European Union — obviously including
Britain — and the United States and maybe one or two others, are probably going to be
even more interconnected economically, socially, culturally, and so forth, because the stakes
are huge for them not to be. The second thing is that if you compound,
in 2040, the rate at which technology is moving and you make a reasonable assumption about
the expansion of Moore’s law, and even if it slows down, you have essentially the distinctions
between media — between media transmission types all go away. Everything is just bits.
It’s all available on these fiberoptic networks. Fiber looks like it has no limit of bandwidth,
no measurable limit of bandwidth, and so essentially all that fiber that’s been put in the ground
will mean that you have essentially access to everything all the time at huge amounts
of bandwidth. So HD quality television, everything that you think of over the — you know, over
the air now in the ground. And the devices, of course, will continue
to be these assistants. And one way to think about these devices is that the devices do
things that you’re not very good at. So for example, they have perfect memory. They remember
everything, they take pictures, and so forth. And they can predict things.
So one thought that’s going around in the industry is that what you really want your
phone to do is to help you have a better life, right?
We certainly agree with this. So what are the things that the phone can
do? And this is all with your permission, right?
I want to say that. It can suggest places that you should go.
It should understand what your choices are. It should understand the things that you care
about. It can introduce you to like-minded people and serve to you as a way of making
your life even more rich. So that’s another model.
There’s a lot of other changes going on that, since you asked a world question, it’s clear,
for example, that there will be a whole revolution in manufacturing and in essentially 3D printing.
So all sorts of ways of getting custom — so think of it as the era of mass customization
where each and every one of us has our own unique products.
So you can imagine a synergy where these devices sort of know roughly what you want, they suggest
things you should buy, there’s things that are manufactured for you and they’re delivered
to you very, very quickly. So the economics here — and of course it’s
always risky to predict so far in the future. The next revolution, which I’m not really
an expert in, has to do with biology and synthetic biology and all the things that we’re going
to learn about life and human processes. Sort of the runup of computer science and
the things that we do at Google is just a warm-up for what can be done by simulating
real live biological processes, and out of that are likely to come cures for all of the
significant diseases, all the issues that people face in life and aging and so forth
and so on. It’s a very, very positive view. And I think what happens is people listen
to this and they say, “Well, what’s all the negatives?”
There are negatives in this vision, but they’re completely overwhelmed by the reduction in
death, the increase in knowledge, and the increase in empowerment, the empowerment of
women, all the kind of issues that we’ve been working on for so long that continues for
a long time. Some more questions.
>>Ulrich Coenen: Hello. Ulrich Coenen from German mobile operator E-Plus.
>>Eric Schmidt: Yes. Hi.>>Ulrich CoenenHi. A very specific infrastructure
question.>>Eric Schmidt: Sure.
>>Ulrich Coenen: You mentioned — and I agree — that excess infrastructure has played an
important role for the success, of course, of Google but of course for the spreading
of the Internet worldwide. And let’s assume for a while that operators, neither wireless
or landline, don’t have the innovation kind of gene that I would assume they don’t have
that in their DNA as well as the over-the-top players do have.
Do you think this could become a roadblock for further expansion and further value creation
from the Internet this those infrastructure growth will not continue the same way because
of the monetization problems that the infrastructure providers may have?
>>Eric Schmidt: So the background here is we’ve spent a lot of time talking to the telecom
operators globally, and our relationship is always sort of — sort of love/hate in the
sense that we are codependent. We need them. They are access to our customers.
They need us because we’re driving their revenue. And the reason we’re driving their revenue
is all of their revenue growth is in wireless data, data plans, and so forth, which are
Internet-based. So if you go back to my fictional scenario,
if you turned off the Internet, all that demand would go away and there’s no money to be made
now in voice calling, because of the advancement of technology.
And I think that this stress will continue. The good news is that, though, Moore’s law
benefits of signaling and the switching and routing continue, and so for example, the
conversion to LTE is roughly four times more cost-efficient per subscriber — right?
You would know the exact numbers in your operation, but the rough industry calculation is four
times, because you get twice as much compression and you get reuse of the bandwidth and you’ve
bought this stuff at auction and the stuff has a longer life and you can depreciate it
over a longer period of time and all that kind of stuff.
So the fact of the matter is, that move to LTE provides tremendous data bandwidth for
us as consumers, but also operating efficiency for the operators.
I think everyone is concerned that we’re going to run out, right? Which is the real question.
And what do you do when you run out. And the bond markets have been on and off
about funding additional fiber and so forth and so.
There’s estimates that wireless data will run out in the U.S. in 2015, 2016, and I would
argue that there are plenty of new technical solutions to help us address that. We’re very
clever and we’ll figure out a way to do it. The ultimate answer is not innovation, but
competition. And whether you like innovation or not, there’s going to be competition.
So as long as these markets are competitive, I’m not worried about it. And we have competitors,
they have competitors, and I think it will sort itself out.
>>Ulrich CoenenThank you.>>Eric Schmidt: Some more questions?
Yes, ma’am.>>Stephanie Czerny: Hi. This is Stephanie
from DLD.>>Eric Schmidt: Yes. Yes. Nice to see you.
>>Stephanie Czerny: Hi, Eric. Nice to see you.
>>Eric Schmidt: Yes. Thank you.>>Stephanie Czerny: So exactly what is Google
doing for DLD — no, not for DLD. For women.>>Eric Schmidt: Your two primary passions,
right?>>Stephanie Czerny: What are you doing to
empowering women?>>Eric Schmidt: Well, we would argue that
information empowers everybody, and women are half.
And so one of the sort of interesting things about the technology is that when you empower
individuals, you empower them on their own terms. They’re not stuck in the culture that’s
repressing them, or whatever. You get to hear their voice. They get to have economic output.
We have many, many stories in other countries where women who typically don’t have access
to the same opportunities as men can use the Internet to become better known, communicate,
create businesses, do things online, and so forth and so on.
Internally, we have a whole program around promotion of technical matters for women,
science education for women, and other women-focused programs.
One of the most important things that’s happened is that historically these societies discriminated
against half of the IQ, or — and some people would argue more than half the IQ — and now
we’re trying to get that redressed by bringing it in.
>>Stephanie Czerny: Thank you.>>Eric Schmidt: Okay. Thanks.
Yes, sir.>>Babs Rangaiah: Hi. Babs Rangaiah from Unilever.
You had talked a little bit about the future being about mass customization, and all we
hear about as marketers for the future that we really consider is things about data and,
you know, “data is the new oil” is the expression we hear, and with companies like yourselves
and Facebook and Apple and Amazon really collecting inordinate amounts of data on everyone in
different forms, and then at the same time is this whole privacy issue and all the things
that you’re dealing with on that end.>>Eric Schmidt: Sure.
>>Babs Rangaiah: So where should we, as marketers — what should — (a) what should we be doing
today, thinking about all this data that’s coming up in the future; and (b), where do
you feel like it will net out, this combination of customization and privacy and where it
all comes together?>>Eric Schmidt: Again, the privacy question
is a societal question. It’s not a Google question.
We resolve the privacy question by saying that it should be your decision about privacy.
You should decide if you want to invade your privacy or not. And we’re building and have
built tools that allow you to control what information we have.
We also, after various legally mandated periods, delete or anonymize the information that we
have about you. Because these systems naturally collect so
much information, it’s important to have rules and restrictions on what you do with them.
In Google’s case, we have users to care about. We care about you as a customer, as an end
user, and so we have all sorts of commitments to you about not misusing that information.
So we’re unlikely and, I think it’s fair to say, would not be a very good choice for the
kind of mass aggregate data kind of marketing that people talk about that is possible on
the Internet because you would violate our end users’ trust, if you will.
There will be other companies that will do that and that will become an issue.
From the standpoint of marketing, then, we will be able to give you aggregate data, you
know, and anonymized data, but we won’t be able to give you very much specific data for
precisely that reason. I think that’s ultimately where the line will be cut.
It’s just too scary to have that kind of information at that level of resolution. And the most
obvious example has to do with real-time location tracking.
Phones naturally know where you are because they have to report that to the emergency
services. So you just don’t want that stuff lying around.
You don’t want — you don’t want people using that in any particularly profound way, unless
it’s done with their explicit permission.>>Babs Rangaiah: Which is essentially where
we are today. So do you feel like that all this talk about targeting and really putting
together data systems and chiefs of data and everything to start working with companies
like yourselves to harness that data and either target or do something with it in the future
is just talk, or is that something that you really feel like there should be something
done about?>>Eric Schmidt: You’ll — as I said, you’ll
be able to do it on an aggregate basis but not too much at a specific basis because it’s
too much of a violation of people’s privacy, and we would be excoriated on that as anybody
else would. It’s just too — just too over the line.
And I think the industry will settle that down after a serious of investigations and
complaints and lawsuits and things like that. It’s pretty obvious to me.
Yes, sir.>>Ludwick Phofane Marishane: Hello, Eric.
First of all, thanks again for inviting the Young Minds.
My question is twofold. Like I love Google as a company. I think you
guys have done a great job in terms of the things you guys have achieved, but I have
a bit of a concern. What exactly are you guys doing to prevent
yourself from becoming a huge monopoly which ends up tripping over itself?
I mean, we’ve seen Microsoft go from the hero all the way to becoming a company that’s just
huge and entrenched in the market simply because of the network that they have and we can’t
get rid of it. It’s going to take years for any other company to come and replace them
slowly –>>Eric Schmidt: I love your phrasing.
>>Ludwick Phofane Marishane: I’m just being frank. I’m just being frank.
And another concern is, we’re becoming more involved in an attention economy, and as you
said, Google deals in information. It’s all about selling information and making it available
to people. Sometimes for free, sometimes for a price.
And my other concern with that is, what exactly is Google trying to do, especially coming
from a youth point of view where all this information overload can actually overwhelm
you and you end up not being able to be productive or achieve anything because there’s just so
much available? What exactly is Google doing, at the same
time as providing this information, to ensure that it’s information that remains useful
and easily accessible without overwhelming the user, as you pointed out in your speech
earlier? Thank you.
>>Eric Schmidt: Right. In Google’s — the way Google really works
is people have a choice of what they use. They can use Google, they can use something
else. And we work very hard to allow you to have that choice.
So we make it easy for you to take your information and give it to a competitor. Which is not
done by most of the other players in the industry. Now, on the one hand, that’s a clever marketing
strategy on my part because I can announce that to you. But it has one other impact,
which is very important. It puts internal pressure on the internal teams to be honest
with respect to how good their products are. They can’t prevent you — if you came to their
— let’s say we were building a substandard product. You come to that substandard product
and you’re stuck, right? So that’s so the internal competition, the internal, if you
will, toughness of that strategy. Larry, seven or eight years ago, wrote a memo,
an internal memo, which I have kept because I thought it was so good, which was entitled
“How to Be Big Without Being Evil.” And it was literally the — a set of these
kinds of points around innovation, not having a lock-in, and so forth.
So we’ve been concerned about this question as a leadership team for a very long time.
On the question about — of information overload, I’m glad you asked about information overload
because we would argue that’s a ranking problem. And guess who does ranking. That would be
Google. But if you do the math about data overload,
the amount of data that we’re getting is so overwhelming, you need something — ideally,
Google or a competitor of Google — to help you sort out how you should spend your attention.
We know mathematically that we can do this. We know that we can look across a large data
set, using social signals, other signals, ranking signals, and we can suggest things
for you to spend your time, and those algorithms are getting better. So there is hope for that.
And literally, we see that as a fundamental mission in serving our end users.
Yes, ma’am.>>Nicola Mendelsohn: Hi, Eric. Nicola Mendelsohn
from Karmarama, a creative advertising agency.>>Eric Schmidt: Hi.
>>Nicola Mendelsohn: Firstly to echo Joe, thank you for the most inspirational couple
of days. My question is just picking up on something
that you said at the end, that we’re living through a period in time that is bigger than
any of us and bigger than anything that we can imagine, and what I think that forces
is the need for collaboration, and so that companies that in the past or even going forward
in the future that might necessarily have been enemies in the past might have to come
together and address those sorts of issues because it’s so large.
So my question to you is: What sorts of tips and advice have you got for the people in
this room about some of the successes and the failures that you might have had from
collaborations or collaborations that you hope to have in the future?
>>Eric Schmidt: Well, we would be strong proponents —
Thank you for your compliment. We would be strong proponents of an open systems
approach, and in particular having open interoperable standards that are not owned by any particular
company. That’s how the Internet was born. The Internet is the most significant open
collaborative effort that’s not owned by anybody that we’ve ever seen in terms of the number
of people it touches, the number of companies it touches.
It’s very, very, very important that we maintain the openness of the Internet. There’s a lot
of people who are concerned about the balkanization of the Internet. Balkanization because specific
companies drew up large caches of information and they won’t let it out, right? That’s a
concern. And the second one is countries decide to
block the Internet — and there’s obviously examples of this already — where they try
to sort of break the addressing and break the connection; that we fundamentally believe
that the world is better when it’s all open and all interconnected and will deal with
the consequences of that. So that’s probably the best case.
The worst case are where you get these situations — and I’ve seen this in this career — where
a typical example is a CEO will call me and say, “I’ll do a deal with you if you’ll do
a deal with me.” And I’ll sit there and go, “Hmm. I thought
we were supposed to serve our end users. Why don’t we do best-of-breed? Why don’t we pick
the right product? Why don’t we try to figure out what the end user wants and work backward?”
And going back to the earlier question, let’s not artificially strengthen a product or a
feature that is not really very good. Let’s try to be intellectually honest about what
people really want. If you establish that principle as an operating
principle, it works pretty well because then you’re honest internally. You’re not sitting
there going “Hooray” and so forth about products that people don’t really care about. So those
are, I think, how I would answer that question. Yes, ma’am.
>>>Hi. My name’s Mira. I’m from Livity, which worked with Amy Brown on the Google Young
Minds program. My question is about diversity.
Looking around this room, personally, I don’t look at it and think of it as a very diverse
group of people. Whilst they may be great people in their own right, I don’t think that
this is a very diverse group. And thank you for opening up Google Zeitgeist
to Young Minds, because I think you’ve addressed the balance somewhat there.
Also looking at the agenda today, don’t want to touch too much on the women issue, but
there were only two women, including Orly and Martha Lane Fox, who were part of the
agenda. I’m just wondering, what is Google doing to
address diversity within your own workplace, but also broader than that, diversity in background,
diversity in experience, and diversity in demographic?
>>Eric Schmidt: So, first place, thank you for the feedback. Let’s take that as constructive
feedback for next year. We work hard — Google itself internally is
really quite multicultural if you look at the number of different races, religions and
so forth and so on. And Silicon Valley, where most of the technical employees are, is incredibly
diverse. In fact, the average American walks in and says, “Boy, this doesn’t feel like
my America, it feels like this other America, because it’s all of these names that I don’t
normally see,” which we’re obviously very proud of. And that’s the technology industry
in general. We have worked very, very hard to develop
a next generation of female leaders. And it takes time to develop those leaders if you
think about it, in terms of accomplishments and building businesses and so forth and so
on. And getting that escalator going has been important.
We’ve also been funding a series of women science programs and minority science programs
in various countries, especially in the United States, in special schools and so forth and
so on. So this is a systemic problem for society as a whole, but the overwhelming answer is
that you get — it’s good for business to encourage diversity, because you get a better
product when it’s produced by the sum of the minds of the world and not a particular segment
of the minds. So women and men and different races and religions
and so forth working together actually produces a slightly different and somewhat better product
as a result. We’re very convinced of that.>>Dana Dunne: Hi, Eric. Dana Dunne. We met
a couple of years ago at the Prince of Wales’ house to talk about rainforest deforestation.
So when we talk about the future, some of the questions have been about 20/40, deforestation,
but even broader, just the global effects of the environment is one of the biggest issues.
I’m just wondering if you could update us in terms of what you see in terms of Google’s
agenda toward that and helping to ensure that we don’t have the cataclysmic effects of the
environment.>>Eric Schmidt: There are many things Google
can solve. This is not one. We can make a contribution.
So in our case, as you know, we are a large energy user. So we’re offsetting all of your
energy uses by investments in green energy. We’re also actually doing physical offsets
in investments in, for example, solar facilities in deserts around the world to try to make
sure we spend our money — put our money where our mouth is.
We’re also funding research in a number of new energy fields which have promise to have
much lower CO2 emissions, which I won’t go into the technical details, but it’s all very
promising. Ultimately, this is — if you look at the
number — the things that could kill a lot of humans, there are two. Nuclear issues,
nuclear proliferation, and these environmental issues. Straightforward analysis says we have
between one and two decades before we reach points that are not — we don’t want to get
to for all sorts of reasons. In that time, we’ve got — and Google is one
of the companies funding it, but there are many others — investments in biofuels, syn
fuels, various other things like that, and, obviously, moving to electric cars.
There have been a series of proposals around the world to do that in an accelerated fashion.
And the problem politically is that the incumbencies, mostly outside of Europe — the Europeans
tend to be pretty smart in this regard — have such a vested interest that they’re in the
process of killing their grandchildren. And it’s really, really sad.
And so one relatively straightforward solution would be to try to set — to sort of change
the subsidies that exist for all of the traditional industries so we have a level playing field
in the market and we can figure out who we want to encourage. In the United States, there
was a big discussion about the carbon trading. It does not look like that’s going to happen
on the political agenda for domestic political issues. And, again, that’s a real setback.
So we’ve taken a pretty strong position that this is a big deal, that we can help with
information, with our own investment, but, ultimately, this is a big deal.