Eric Schmidt on the new world

Here’s video from the Aspen Ideas Festival responding to my question about what follows the industrial age. It’s much better than my limited report on it below:

More of Kai Ryssdal’s very good interview with Schmidt here.

  • Daniel

    I like this interview because he told us something about his perspecitve and what happends in the reality.
    I also like the book WWGD, but there are more the perfect cases, how to do it perfect.
    Schmidt said that the government’s technological deployment is much slower than in the other industries. I think that’s right, but in my opinion, it is a huge problem for them!

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  • Jim S

    Schmidt’s comments are only partially true. We are in the beginnings of a transition and that beginning is complicated by the fact that we live in an extremely unequal world. It is unequal both in the distribution of wealth and the distribution of technology. In multiple online discussions I’ve read about the transfers of American jobs overseas it has been brought up that in fact more jobs have been lost to automation than have been transferred overseas. My response is generally that in that case it is just even more important that we look at this situation honestly and ask what kind of society and economy we need to consider becoming if in fact individual businesses, in doing what they consider necessary for their business, are creating the beginnings of a societal disaster if we do not think of some way to successfully adapt to it.

  • Jim, How can we successfully adapt to a world where there are not enough jobs for all of the qualified/skilled workers? One response has been implemented in France: the 35 hour work week and job sharing. This, however, leads to individual employees making less money, but more people being employed.

    Why is it that telecommuting still only represents ~5-10% of the jobs out there?

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  • Jim S


    Most people really don’t like the idea that I think applies. Especially economists and conservatives of almost every stripe. Simply put, economics is not in fact a science but instead is whatever we want to make of it. Basically, most people just take their environment, whether it be physical, political or economic for granted and never question most things about it. This includes whether or not the one they live within or the other ones they are familiar with are the only systems that can exist. They think that in spite of drastic changes to our economic environment since the basics of economics were proposed that those same ideas, developed in the Age of Sail and overwhelming expensive long range transportation and communications still apply today. They think that creating automation systems that can replace factory workers, warehouse workers, customer service agents and many others won’t have any effect on our society. They make me think of the pointy haired boss from Dilbert. Completely clueless about reality where it does not fit in to their ideology. Once the complete artificiality of the constraints that their belief system places on looking at the world are recognized we might be able to begin working on solutions.

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  • Idealogically speaking, I do agree with this piece. Undoubtedly we are entering a new phase of economic viability where consumerism in this country make take the back seat to other entrepreneurial means of post-industrial productivity.

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