It’s not often in this day and age that a Fortune 500 company rattles any political cages. In most cases, companies keep their noses out of Washington, or at least disguise their motives behind lobbyists. However, Google seems to be making some striking political waves, as we discovered in a recent NBC News story: “Google Exec: Technology is Not a Silver Bullet to Solve the World’s Problems.”
According to Jared Coen, director of Google Ideas:
[T]echnology is not a silver bullet answer to the world’s problems.
It generates awareness, it gives us visibility, it offers enormous opportunity – but at the end of the day, the world is still run by states and their military apparatus. States are going to continue to be the dominate unit in our lifetime and likely lifetimes to come.
Wow, we were shocked at the candor here. Even if this is just an independent view, it is still attached to the search giant, so it’s a gutsy thing to say anything political. We were impressed and then found other Googlers, like Eric Schmitt telling the Guardian that “politicians are failing us.” This is not the canned, public relations speak we are used to and applaud Google for standing for something of value, instead of just concerning itself with the company’s value.
Patrick Roland, April 24, 2014
ROBERT STEELE: Google is an engineering firm. Larry, whom I know personally from our common elected membership to Hackers (the conference started by Stewart Brand) is a gentle giant brain hard-wired to bend metal — he does not “do” sense-making or “soft” thinking. Google has refused, since its inception, to actually “make sense” for the same reason that its early funder and adopter, the CIA, still does not have an all-source analytic workstation with the eighteen functionalities called for by Gordon Oehler, Diane Webb, and Dennis McCormick in 1986 – 1989. Google is focused on hijacking and copyrighting all information, and in laying fiber so it can create toll booths. Many of its access endeavors, such as the Internet ballooms, are world-class good thinking — but also lack grounding in the need to restore public agency and empower people with sense-making tools and collective intelligence voice aggregators, not just shopping channels with paid advertising (or worse, search that shows what someone else paid for you to see).