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  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Please welcome to the 25th Anniversary of the MIT Media Lab, the CEO

  • and Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. >> SCHMIDT: Thank you. Thank you, thank you

  • very much. Thank you for having me. >> HOCKENBERRY: When I tell you smile, you

  • have a big smile, indeed. It's great to have you here. Thanks Eric for joining.

  • >> SCHMIDT: I [INDISTINCT], this place spawned a lot of what I live in everyday. Ten years

  • ago, a lot of our employees, when I visited a long time ago, it's like I said, "That'll

  • never happen." It happens everyday now. >> HOCKENBERRY: So if somebody comes to you

  • with Media Lab on their resume, that's a good thing.

  • >> SCHMIDT: We'll hire them. We'll hire them. >> HOCKENBERRY: That's a good--you'll hire

  • them, I see. >> SCHMIDT: Yeah.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: You know, are you sticking around for the party?

  • >> SCHMIDT: Yes. >> HOCKENBERRY: Yeah.

  • >> SCHMIDT: We have a whole team here. >> HOCKENBERRY: I see. We'll you're going...

  • >> SCHMIDT: My guess is the demos that you guys are going to see later are the future

  • for the next 10 years. >> HOCKENBERRY: That's great. But you'll probably

  • have some attention at the party later, so I'd keep your entourage like right around

  • you. Eric, I want to talk about the institution of Google and institutions of change and entrepreneurship,

  • and I think we loosely use the terms entrepreneur, innovator and discover in this economy. And

  • I'm wondering if there are institutions that foster entrepreneurs and innovators, and people

  • who discover sort of basic deep problems that may not have immediate results or those best

  • worked out in separate institutions? >> SCHMIDT: I'm struck by a couple of things.

  • One, we have Marvin Minsky here; he's one of my personal heroes. There are people who

  • in the 60's foresaw--sort of creating what we have today when they created Kendall Square

  • and Kendall Square Research, and all of that, the progenitors of modern computing. And I'm

  • really struck when I spend time in our government with how much incumbency drives no change

  • and how this group and the culture that's represented basically in Cambridge, in Silicon

  • Valley, and a few other places in America, really are different. And we, because we spend

  • so much time with each other, we assume we're the norm, we're not. We're not the norm. That's

  • why television doesn't quite make sense to us. So what they're saying, "It doesn't quite

  • compute." Whereas in this case, the students are the model of the university, the funding

  • model, their R&D centers, which are linked pretty tightly together now, really do believe

  • in discontinuous change. So I would argue that the solutions to the problems that we

  • have in humanity, in government, in society as a whole will be not made by the incumbents

  • but rather by people like people in this room. >> HOCKENBERRY: Well, let's talk a little

  • bit about the difference between an entrepreneur who takes maybe existing intellectual property

  • and takes advantage of it in the market place and creates a sustaining model for it as a

  • business; an innovator is something that seems to be a hybrid between a discoverer and an

  • entrepreneur. And then of course, I think, you know, people who work in basic research

  • labs like Watson, like Kendall, like Xerox PARC, like the Media Lab, are basically working

  • on problems where there is not necessarily an expectation. What kinds of investments

  • foster those different individuals and do you separate that function at Google?

  • >> SCHMIDT: We try not to because it's so--one of this does happen--is this all gotten interlinked

  • and these distinctions are not as important as they were, it just involves doing amazing

  • things. And one thing you learn as an executive is when you walk through the hall, if you

  • ask people who are the--think people doing the most interesting things, everyone agrees.

  • So it doesn't really matter how we score it, we actually just know. And I'm really struck

  • now by--my entire career started with DARPA, NSF, and the kind of funding that people,

  • you know, generation before me figured was important. The history of American funding

  • of major Universities, including MIT, started in the post war period by understanding that

  • having a robust investment of basic science which precedes all of us, you know, the--what

  • allows us to get these extraordinary returns in terms of semiconductors; it's really physics,

  • right? All of those investments that occurred in the 60's and 70's, and 80's, we're now

  • the beneficiaries of. So, unlike our children, let's thank our parents, right. Let's actually

  • recognize that people actually worked very hard to create an opportunity that we all

  • now a benefit from. >> HOCKENBERRY: But let's explore the frame

  • there. They were motivated by a Cold War almost fear mentality, that we had to compete with

  • the Russians. Today... >> SCHMIDT: Now we can be afraid of our competitors

  • in the economic sense. Whatever works... >> HOCKENBERRY: Right, it doesn't...

  • >> SCHMIDT: ...that causes more money to come to basic research is a good outcome.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: But do those motives pursue or produce the same kinds of outcomes? In

  • other words, do we--can we formulate the same kind of urgency about investing an innovation

  • today without a Cold War, as our parents did? >> SCHMIDT: Well, I would hope so. I mean

  • it, let's--if you watch enough television [INDISTINCT] spend enough time in Washington,

  • what's the future of America? Okay? Massive deficits, lost of manufacturing jobs overseas,

  • an increasing number of healthcare services jobs which are relatively low paid, declining

  • productivity and aside from the brilliant aspects of our leading universities, no American

  • leadership in anything. That's the sum of the message. So what's your answer? Your answer

  • is innovation. >> HOCKENBERRY: All right. But the motive

  • there is we're failing, let's stop failing. And...

  • >> SCHMIDT: Well, let's start with advanced manufacturing jobs. Here in Cambridge, you

  • have the largest cluster as far as I can tell of biotech and biologic related businesses.

  • That didn't occur by accident, it's not some random event that had occurred in Cambridge.

  • It occurred because people foresaw that a cluster of such investments built around the

  • innovation in Harvard, in MIT, in the various institutes that exist, would create whether

  • in fact the millions of jobs and leading position globally, that can be reproduced.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Not NSF though, not DARPA, not the institutions of government and policy

  • that were operating in the 50's and 60's. >> SCHMIDT: Well NSF and DARPA did other things.

  • They're--these guy's funding comes out of the--basically the National Institute for

  • Health. The important point is, I don't care how the money happens, what I recognize is

  • that you have young people who have an idea and they need the access. There's a problem

  • by the way in America that there's a value of deficit as it's called, that the leading

  • universities including MIT and Harvard, and another here in the Boston area, Boston University,

  • have ideas involving, for example, nanotechnology and they cannot get enough funding now. So

  • it's really a national emergency in terms of trying to get these businesses built.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Well, let's talk a little bit about what Marvin Minsky used to tell

  • me years ago and I thought it was so clever and advanced, and it was more evidence that--what

  • I've always believed is that Marvin is actually a visitor from another planet and it wasn't...

  • >> SCHMIDT: Would you like [INDISTINCT]? >> HOCKENBERRY: It wasn't reality. We'll talk

  • about that a little bit later. >> SCHMIDT: [INDISTINCT] Perhaps you can[INDISTINCT],

  • I'm sure. >> HOCKENBERRY: A little bit later. No, but

  • he describe that what was going on at the Media Lab was actually human evolution, it

  • wasn't a creation of tools. And the [INDISTINCT] actually on my program this morning referred

  • to this network nervous system that exists around us in the wireless domain, you've talked

  • about something called enhanced humanity. >> SCHMIDT: Yeah, [INDISTINCT].

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Augmented humanity. What...? >> SCHMIDT: Let me make the argument as follows;

  • let's fast forward a few years. Everybody here has a mobile phone at the moment in your

  • cameras and so forth and so on, all of these phones will follow Moore's Law in these amazing

  • ways, the phones know where they are and they're highly personal. So what do I really want,

  • since I'm a tourist here in Cambridge? As I walked down the street, I want the phone

  • to, or whatever the device tablet to tell me, "Yes, you were here two years ago. Yes,

  • that store is a different store. Yes, you need some new pants, Eric. Actually, your

  • shirt is kind of dirty, maybe you should go over there, you could buy a really good bargain."

  • You walk into the store and it says, "By the way, just for you Eric, here's a 10% off coupon

  • if you buy right now." Now, this is all with my permission by the way, all something that

  • I chose to do and it remembers that. Now today, how does that work for me as an executive?

  • I have an assistant who remembers what hotels I like and where I'm going and sort of keeps

  • me and tells me, "You're late, as usual. Get over here." Why can't the device, why can't

  • the network sort of know that and help me if I want it to. Right? That's the possibility

  • that this new model describes. I'm quite convinced that what we call hyper locals, sort of local

  • mobile social, has a set of killer applications. I'm also quite convince that the Media Lab

  • has some very interesting ideas in the space that can help us with it.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: And do you--to note the difference between an individual who has that capability

  • and an individual who doesn't have that capability at this point, just note the difference between

  • Eric and my shoes this morning. Eric [INDISTINCT] so, that's very easy.

  • >> SCHMIDT: And one of the com--one of the comments about computers is we always get

  • confused about what computers are good at. Computers are not very good at feeling, judgment,

  • emotion, although people are working on those, people--computers are extremely good at dealing

  • with billions of things of information and doing various forms of calculations that produce

  • interesting results. These computers can remember everything, and humans can remember almost

  • nothing especially as you get older, right? So the fact of the matter is that society

  • will change based on the fact that computers are very good at what they're good at and

  • computers--and people are still very good at what we're good at. And by the way, remember

  • that most of the machine learning algorithms learn from people, right, you train them.

  • So, ideally what will happen is that in this sort of, I don't know how you want to call

  • it, but in this collaboration between this emergent amount of machine technology and

  • the human condition, the collaboration is helpful to both. Right? That human can train

  • computers and can--computers can help human live their lives better. I would argue in

  • fact that the goal needs to be set completely differently than ways normally the goal has

  • been set to use computers more. I would argue that the goals is to use computers less, right?

  • That in fact the computer is just around if you need it and otherwise you are free to

  • actually do what humans like to do which is to have a good time, be productive, care about

  • your family, or what have you. Right? And then in fact that the sort of the hours that

  • I spent reprogramming my PC in Window 7, you know, over the weekend is not a very good

  • use of my time. You know, why I chose to do that is a separate problem involving my judgment.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Yes. >> SCHMIDT: But the fact of the matter is...

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Yes, I would--I would say... >> SCHMIDT: But, you know, and I would argue

  • that if you take a look, hit it with--at the iPad, part of the reason it's so successful

  • is precisely because it works so simply and it just works. And that the just works option,

  • which I think has been pioneered here and a couple of other places, is in fact a new

  • discovery for most computer scientists. And Google, of course, is also trying to do the

  • just works and its support in its businesses as well.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: There are people who can help you with your judgment problem in this room

  • probably and you may hear from them later on today. Two questions, a personal one and

  • one I think that is more global, about the identity of Google today. I've always wanted

  • to ask you this Eric, what do you do when you absolutely don't want to be distracted?

  • >> SCHMIDT: Turn your computer off. >> HOCKENBERRY: But then--when you have to

  • actually do something as well. >> SCHMIDT: I'd read a book.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: There we go. >> SCHMIDT: I know it's boring. I actually

  • also read a newspaper, a physical newspaper. I know it's going out of style.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Such a--such a chuckle head. Newspapers and books.

  • >> SCHMIDT: Newspapers and books. >> HOCKENBERRY: Love that. God, I love that.

  • >> SCHMIDT: You know, you actually read stuff. >> HOCKENBERRY: Yeah, the man needs a hug.

  • >> SCHMIDT: I also listen--I also listen to music.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: Yeah. You're a public radio fan, too.

  • >> SCHMIDT: Yes. >> HOCKENBERRY: Yes, I'm glad of that.

  • >> SCHMIDT: Also to--I listen to public radio on--and on Podcast.

  • >> HOCKENBERRY: There we go. >> SCHMIDT: Of which there are--turns out