In an interview published today in the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt lays out the next stage in his company’s ambitious plan to replace human agency with automated data processing, freeing us all from the nuisance of thinking:
“We’re trying to figure out what the future of search is,” Mr. Schmidt acknowledges. “I mean that in a positive way. We’re still happy to be in search, believe me. But one idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type.”
“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions,” he elaborates. “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
Let’s say you’re walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, “we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.” Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are. Mr. Schmidt leaves it to a listener to imagine the possibilities: If you need milk and there’s a place nearby to get milk, Google will remind you to get milk. It will tell you a store ahead has a collection of horse-racing posters, that a 19th-century murder you’ve been reading about took place on the next block.
Says Mr. Schmidt, a generation of powerful handheld devices is just around the corner that will be adept at surprising you with information that you didn’t know you wanted to know. “The thing that makes newspapers so fundamentally fascinating—that serendipity—can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically,” Mr. Schmidt says.
Awesome! I’ve always thought that the worst thing about serendipity was its randomness.
I hope Google will also be able to tell me the best candidate to vote for in elections. I find that such a burden.