Eric Schmidt Outlines Vision For The Web

Google's ex-CEO Eric Schmidt gave a speech last night at the Science Museum in which he outlined a vision for the web, and how much he believes it will change society in the future.

Schmidt said: "The world wide web has yet to live up to its name," and he added that: "Put simply, to connect the world is to free the world."

The now Executive Chairman of the search giant noted that there were many parts of the world which were yet to be graced with Internet access, and that the web hasn't been fully realised or expanded with a truly global reach.

He noted there is a digital divide - and even in developed countries, that's true to some extent, with extremely poor access in remote areas of the UK still - and Schmidt believes this must be overcome. And that full worldwide connectivity will be revolutionary in political, social and economic terms.

Schmidt has, of course, got a point. It's obvious the difference the Internet has made to protest movements during the so-called "Arab Spring", a fact he pointed out in an earlier speech yesterday (he's certainly been busy with his speaking engagements).

Schmidt said: "You can understand Tunisia's revolution as a failure of the dictator to censor the internet. It's very difficult for governments that are autocratic to operate when populations are against them."

He even had a dig at China, and how its "great firewall" was only partially able to stifle the criticism of the ruling regime.

The net will drive the world to become more democratic, Schmidt said, adding: "The solution is openness and transparency in government and connectivity for the individual."

An obvious point, really, but one well made.

It wasn't all gushing praise for the web, however. He did identify areas of weakness, such as the spread of misinformation, and naturally the opportunities it gave cyber criminals to reap new avenues of theft. But these aren't "insurmountable" issues, he argued - though we can't see them ever going away.

Ultimately, he philosophised, the web should become "nothing and everything" - all-pervasive to the extent that it becomes seamless and invisible. And naturally, a bigger cash cow for Google - the more folks surfing, the more ad money that will be coming rolling in...

Source: Telegraph