I am watching Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress today. I am only 10 minutes in, but I was struck by these comments, as he talks about improving connectivity across the internet:
Think of it as an opportunity to instrument the world. These networks are now so pervasive that we can literally know everything if we want to. What people are doing, what people care about, information that’s monitored, we can literally know it if we want to, [pauses, lowers voice] and if people want us to know it.
A comment full of resonance. Who is “we”? You and I? or Google? The enthusiasm for knowing everything about everything, the reluctant-sounding concession to privacy at the end. The sheer bravado of it; the word “literally”, which means in actual fact, without hyperbole; and yet which is obvious hyperbole.
For another view on this, see The Onion’s piece on Google’s opt-out village.