Technology and Optimism for the Future

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Nov 17, 2014
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Technology and Optimism for the Future

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt delivers the fifth Lloyd R. Cutler Lecture on the Rule Of Law at the US Supreme Court

"We’re beginning to understand how humans actually think, work, and play... But the one that’s really going to change everything... is generalized AI," declared Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google at the fifth Lloyd N. Cutler Lecture on the Rule of Law on November 17, 2014.

Speaking at the US Supreme Court, Schmidt expressed his optimism for the future: "The US took 50 years for GDP to double. China did it in 15. It took 60 years for air conditioning...to get to 80 percent of US citizens. And it took 10 years for 80 percent to have mobile phones. Things happen quicker now."

Quoting H.G. Wells, Schmidt said, “'Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as the circumstances allow, for the truth is the greatest weapon we have.' When you look at the problems that our political leaders are addressing around the world; in almost every case, more education, more
civilization, [and] more of a buy-in to the international system would cure most of the problems. Right? He was right. We are right.”

Download and read the full transcript

The Lloyd N. Cutler Lecture on the Rule of Law is held annually by Salzburg Global Seminar and features a distinguished speaker on a vital legal issue of international interest. 

The Fifth Cutler Lecture was hosted by Salzburg Global Fellow and Associate Justice, the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the US Supreme Court. Lloyd Cutler was a long-time champion of Salzburg Global Seminar and served as chair of its Board of Directors for a decade. Believing passionately in the role that law plays in nation building, and in the ability of the law and legal experts to contribute solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, Lloyd Cutler was able to attract high court judges from around the world
to Salzburg. In addition, he was personally committed to ensuring that promising young international lawyers, academics, and jurists had access at Salzburg Global to a rich variety of judicial traditions, international legal institutions, and the international legal community at large.

Since joining Google in 2001, Eric Schmidt has helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. From 2001-2011, he served as Google’s
chief executive officer, overseeing the company’s technical and business strategy alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Prior to joining Google, Schmidt was the chairman and CEO of Novell and chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc. Previously, he served on the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Bell Laboratories, and Zilog.