From robots to holographic telepresence, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt took the time at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona yesterday to discuss where the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company is in the world and what the future holds in the technology realm.
Google’s Hugo Berro showcases Chrome for Android in the first 10 minutes of the keynote (video is above). The nugget to his presentation is that Chrome is fast, secure, and free.
“People say in Ice Cream Sandwich that we got the UI right, we got it right for the global audience, and you see the benefits when you see Chrome,” contributed Schmidt to Berro’s lecture. Upon the concluding statements about Chrome, Schmidt led the stage with an announcement that he wanted to talk about the state of the world and “the world that we all operate in, because I think getting this right—the stakes are huge.”
Schmidt mentioned the potential for growth among the millions in the world who have never played Angry Birds and “never got into the Android vs. iOS argument,” but he also hypothesized about the future. While claiming technologies like holograms, virtual reality, and self-driving cars will be commonplace “quite soon,” Schmidt described a scenario where one could “dispatch a robot”:
“…you need to go to a conference across the world for work and it’s the same time your favorite artist is playing live, in the future you’ll be able to dispatch a robot… to each venue, allowing you to experience both events… using a 3D screen and a control system”
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Beyond the world of science fiction, Schmidt discussed how technology could help save human lives. He dissected the rate of fatal accidents in America caused by human error and then surmised technology could operate cars in the near future to eliminate road accidents:
“Driverless cars are a lot closer than you think. Google’s cars, which I think people have heard about, have already driven over 200,000 miles… In America, states like Nevada, Florida, and California are now making the law possible so that these things can end up on the road. And they will be safer. That’s the important point.”
The chairman quickly transitioned to economy and how technology could track and sustain its success, which led to him detailing the positive effects of future technology on doctors, teachers, and governmental transparency. Schmidt dabbled in the growth of the cloud, lack of infrastructure, and lack of connectivity abroad while skipping from bullet point to bullet point. The convolute of mind-bending ideas were just a warm-up to the main focal point of his keynote: the Internet and technology is still in its fetus stage. He speculated that its greatest purpose is to create a global community of equals.
“We need to act now to avoid the rise of the new digital caste system. We’re not all born into families with robots and laptops,” Schmidt contended. “Technology is power by its very nature, and by ensuring access we can create a global community of equals.”
The keynote wrapped-up as Google’s chairman called upon developers and entrepreneurs to build a world where everyone has an opportunity to be connected. The rest of the video features a Q&A session from the audience.
- Jordan Kahn and Christian Zibreg contributed to this report.