Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently was concerned that most people have not come to grips with the emerging information revolution. His concern is that many people haven’t thought how even simple day-to-day tasks are due for a disruptive change.
Carried by Boston’s WBUR radio [full story and video], Schmidt spoke about Google and the future of the Internet. The talk was part of a memorial for Michael Hammer, an MIT computer science professor who died last September.
“To understand what we [Google] are doing, think about a world of an infinite amount of new sources of information; an infinite number of digital devices – all GPS located, attached to people with an infinite exposure to information. And imagine the scale of the kinds of questions you could ask, that you could not ask before, you literally could not do it before …. I’ve become convinced that people don’t understand how profound that revolution will be.”
An infinite number of locatable devices attached to an infinite exposure to answers that you could never ask before. How could this change your life, from shopping to driving to work? The influx of knowledge and collaboration – and managing those skills – will result in a world totally different than that we have today. This would be true for even the most simple tasks. To put it plainly, we are in the process of reinventing the wheel and sliced bread at the same time.
“One of the most obvious questions is tell me where I am and tell me where I’m going” Schmidt continued. “Well, not only can we actually tell you where you are, (and you are the search,) but we can also predict where you’re going to go based on your patterns and movements … and so on.”
They are also grappling with the privacy concerns and summarized Google’s position that the individual consumer owns their own data.
Google is working very hard at parsing and ranking live, real-time data from Twitter and other real-time sites and merging it with content from web sites to deliver pertinent and credible results. Microsoft is also working on similar results. The goal: to provide the information you need as easily as possible.
Today, according to Schmidt, the US ranks 14th in the world in Internet bandwidth speed. We do have some catching up to do, but within the next five to 10 years, expect some convergence of home entertainment devices, but especially more devices to a single “pipe” of data coming into your home with significantly better bandwidth than available today. How much faster will it be? Chances are it will be faster than most companies now have. This will make room for even more complex information to pour right into your home.
Mobile devices will still accelerate, and do what was just a dream just a few years back. While mobile bandwidth will improve significantly, they still won’t be able to match the new speed coming into your home.
These will have implications for every business and every person. And Schmidt asked a very valid question that’s been asked by many educators: “Why do we teach the old way when all the world’s information is on this phone?”
Perhaps another way to ask it is if students could access the entire world’s knowledge, how should we help them to synthesize and leverage this power?
Information, communities, mobility and collaboration are all key parts of emerging products from many leading companies.
Your part is to know the world is changing. Now is the time to learn the skills to keep you competitive in working with the entire world’s knowledge.
Maybe CISCO’s new vision of the world sums it up: Make business more people-centric than document-centric. And if that doesn’t spell change, you better check that magic-8 ball.