MWC: Google speaks of technological future, growing digital divide

In a keynote address to wrap up the second day of Mobile World Congress, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, addressed the technological future, both for those with unlimited access to technology, as well as those with vertically no access at all.

Schmidt referenced a future filled with driverless cars and human holograms that allow you to experience two things as once; as well as a future where people who don’t currently have access to technology, such as the internet, will finally be able to experience it for the first time.

 “We need to be realistic when we talk about the technology revolution,” says Schmidt.  “Of the seven billion people making up the world population only two billion are online.”

It seems strange to speak of a future where one group is experiencing human holograms and the other is only beginning to access basic internet functionalities, but Schmidt acknowledged this divide. 

According to Schmidt, the digital divide between the two groups will most likely grow in the future as new technologies emerge.  But to Schmidt the most important part is that the internet, especially mobile internet, while finally be fully penetrated into the whole population.

“The web will be everything but nothing.  It will just be there, like electricity,” says Schmidt. “Technology is a leveler.  The weak will be strong and people with nothing will have something.”

Schmidt also spoke critically about internet regulation, saying that 40 countries still censor online content.  He urged regulators to not regulate the technology, but the outcome it will bring.  Schmidt argued that too much regulation will stifle technological innovation, and that any regulation by an international group is unnecessary.  “If it isn’t broken, why fix it,” said Schmidt

Schmidt also offered a glimpse into Google itself, telling the audience that 98% of the company’s revenue comes from online advertising, and that Google has been testing driverless cars for years

Driverless cars are a lot closer than you think," says Schmidt. "People who predict that holograms and self-driving cars will become reality soon are absolutely right."

With future technology already being tested in laboratories around the world, it is still hard for some people to fully understand how technology is going to change our future.

“We are beginning to see science fiction become a reality,” says Schmidt. “We cannot simply imagine the future by looking at the past.”


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