Google’s Eric Schmidt has made an impassioned plea to the world’s technology companies to take the lead on social responsibility during his keynote speech at MWC 2012.
Speaking candidly, he said the power of the internet can used for good by giving power to those who previously had none.
“The web is more than a network of machines,” he said. “It’s a network of minds that’s evolved into a global consciousness.
“We need to act now to avoid the rise of the new digital caste system. We’re not all born into families with robots and laptops.”
“There will still be elites,” he went on. “But technology is a leveller – the weak will be strong and those with nothing will have something. With information comes power and with power comes choice and smarter citizens will demand a better deal from the global elites.
“Technology is power by its very nature and by ensuring access we can create a global community of equals.”
Schmidt talked about how some government were trying to subdue the power of free speech online, but said that Google wouldn’t bend to pressure from countries like China and North Korea – who block Google services.
“Governments will try to control the network. Forty countries regulate up from four. Twenty countries block Google services. Even in the US we see efforts. But these will fail.”
“This is why I do what I do, and I suspect this is why many of you do what you do.”
“The openness of the internet is one of the greatest achievements of our lifetime,” Schmidt added. “Do not give that up, you will regret it.”