Vicky's Rants

Telescoping The Vision

On C-Span, Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft gave the keynote address at the annual Technology for Government dinner in Washington DC and Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google gave a speech to the Economic Club of Washington DC.   Televised June 9, 2008 

I just finished watching video of Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman and CEO talking to the Economist Club of Washington in a speech titled, "The Future of the Internet: Engine for Economic Growth". 

 Schmidt started out his talk by showing images from a modeling program using Google Earth for the map that showed Washington DC underwater.  Obviously an indirect reference to the nightmares of the global warming Chicken Littles.  He called this modeling program a tool for researchers of the future.. he didn't mention that it was also an animation generator for cartoons and movies.  This program could just as easily have shown the ocean drying up, the Red Sea parting and you walking on water.   The thought occurred to me that if this is the kind of information that is being shown to our legislators by industry lobbyists who will make money on global warming - then it's no wonder they are panicked (think Ted Stevens - Internets - series of tubes).

Then he went on to talk about futuristic capabilities, social networks and how we will all be attached to the internet as if it were our umbilical cord.   It will deliver to us - no matter where we are, exactly what we need and want. 

Earlier in the day, I watched Steve Balmer of Microsoft selling the same vision. 


I've been trying to think of how to describe what Schmidt and Balmer are selling.  To say that they were selling dreams is not adequate.  Even to say they are selling illusions is not adequate.  I don't know what the origin of the term pipe dream is, but if it a telescoped vision of a utopian world, then that would be it.  But as I listened to Schmidt, the vision I got was remembering an episode of the Twilight Zone that I watched in the 1950's.  It was the one where a guy or woman - don't remember, found themselves somehow transported inside their television set as a character in a TV program.  Their reality completely reversed.  And I think that's what's happened to people like Schmidt and Balmer.  They are living in a virtual world and they are seeing the virtual reality that is possible when physical reality is erased.