PDF: Eric Schmidt

Google’s head, Eric Schmidt, is talking with the New York Times’ Tom Friedman at PDF.

Schmidt says the most obvious use of the internet in politics is as a truth detector: We can look up what politicians have said and we can refute fact.

He also says that voters will become much less likely to believe the first thing that comes at them because there is so much more coming. This is the model of news going forward as it becomes more universal and instantaneous.

Friedman quotes a friend who says that a young George Bush would never get elected today — no, not for the obvious reason — because if there would have been cell phone cameras and pictures of his wild days at Yale. Friedman says that when people our age go for jobs, we present our resume: our proxy of ourselves. Now that identity is online and out of our control. Schmidt says that he thinks there should be a law allowing us all to change our names at 21: everything before is erased.

I think there is also an issue of mutual assured destruction: Let he who has nothing embarrassing searchable on Google cast the first stone.

Friedman also tells a story that in essence makes us all politicians, all public figures: He was at an airport newsstand and a woman thought he cut in front of her and she snarled, “I know who you are.” He says today he’d buy the woman’s magazine hoping she wouldn’t go blog the episode, creating a reputation for that rude guy from the New York Times.

Friedman tells the story of how in a recent Bahraini election voters used Google Earth to take pictures of what was behind the walls of the palaces and estates of the ruling family. Schmidt says the government tried to shut down Google Earth but there was a backlash and they had to turn it back on again, all of which only drew more attention to it. Online, as in the White House, the coverup is worse than the crime.

(Crossposted from PrezVid)