Internet to 'disappear', Google boss tells Davos

By Agence France Presse In Davos ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-01-24 08:03:50

Major tech leaders say connectivity creates jobs and promotes greater global equality

Google boss Eric Schmidt predicted on Thursday that the Internet will soon be so pervasive in every facet of our lives that it will effectively "disappear" into the background.

Speaking to the business and political elite at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Schmidt said: "There will be so many sensors, so many devices, that you won't even sense it, it will be all around you.

"It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room and ... you are interacting with all the things going on in that room. A highly personalized, highly interactive and very interesting world emerges."

A high-level panel, which might only be found once a year near the ski slopes of Davos, brought together the heads of Google, Facebook and Microsoft. And global mobile phone network Vodafone sought to allay fears that the rapid pace of technological advance was killing jobs.

"Everyone's worried about jobs," said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.

With so many changes in the technology world, "the transformation is happening faster than ever before," she said. "But tech creates jobs, not only in the tech space but outside."

Google's Schmidt quoted statistics he said showed that every tech job created between five and seven jobs in a different area of the economy.

"If there were a single digital market in Europe, 400 million new and important new jobs would be created in Europe," which is suffering from stubbornly high levels of unemployment, he said.

The debate about whether technology is destroying jobs "has been around for hundreds of years", Schmidt said. What is different is the speed of change.

"It's the same that happened to the people who lost their farming jobs when the tractor came. ... But ultimately a globalized solution means more equality for everyone."

A voice for everyone,

With one of the main topics at this year's Davos forum being how to share the fruits of global growth, the tech barons stressed that the greater connectivity offered by their companies ultimately helps reduce inequalities.

"Are the spoils of tech being evenly spread? That is an issue that we have to tackle head on," said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft. "I'm optimistic, there's no question. If you are in the tech business, you have to be optimistic. Ultimately, to me, it's about human capital. Tech empowers humans to do great things."

Facebook boss Sandberg said the Internet in its early forms was "all about anonymity", but now everyone is sharing everything, and everyone is visible.

"Now everyone has a voice ... now everyone can post, everyone can share and that gives a voice to people who have historically not had it," she said.

Internet to 'disappear', Google boss tells Davos

(China Daily 01/24/2015 page10)

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