Barcelona, Spain – The keynote speaker at MWC in Barcelona today, Google chairman Eric Schmidt once again cast his eye into the future to see how technology, and specifically the web, is changing the way work and live, both in developed and emerging countries.
As with LeWeb in Paris late last year, Schmidt was in pensive mood, taking stock of how technology can help develop third-world countries, prevent dictatorships, and on how the nature of Moore's Law means that today's $150 smartphones will be around half-price this time next year.
After introducing Hugo Barra to briskly run through the features of the new Chrome for Android app, Schmidt dug in by claiming that ‘science fiction’ is ‘coming true’ in the form of unlimited data speeds and browsing power. “If Moore’s Law holds up, and it has done this far, then the people who predict driver-less cars and holograms are absolute right”.
“There is a trend for big data. The web is evolving into a collective intelligence and a collective consciousness. Technology will actually eventually 'disappear', because it will become part of everyday life. It’s all so seamless; it’s just there.”
Schmidt added that the web is no more a set of networked machines than it is a set of ‘networked minds’, and said that he expects Android smartphones to fall to half their current value of $150 in the next year, once again thanks to Moore’s Law. He also added that Google Search will become more personal and accurate in future.
However, he did go onto say that the internet remains a scarce resource for a lot of countries with little to no web infrastructure in place. He admitted that, for some countries, data centres are ‘impractical’ at this point, but did say that web connectivity is on the march in booming areas, like Brazil and Turkey.
In summary, Schmidt's talk was enlightening from a future perspective, although, in-truth, it was not so radical that it really shocked too many minds in the room. To that end, the reaction to the talk was indifferent; interesting and insightful, but without revealing anything truly ground-breaking.