Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eric Schmidt and Warren Buffett

Eric Schmidt, speaking today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:

“There will be so many IP addresses . . . so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” he explained. “It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”
Warren Buffett, speaking to University of Washington students in 1998:
“I’m very suspect of the person who is very good at one business — it also could be a good athlete or a good entertainer — who starts thinking they should tell the world how to behave on everything. For us to think that just because we made a lot of money, we’re going to be better at giving advice on every subject — well, that’s just crazy.”
Not a perfect match: Schmidt here is more prophet than advice-giver, telling us not how to behave but how we will behave. But again: who is he to tell us how we are to live?

That phrasing — “with your permission and all of that” — suggests a rather casual attitude toward individual privacy and whatnot. And what is “the room”? It’s certainly not my living room.

See also Eric Schmidt on the future.

comments: 4

Anonymous said...

Use any search engine (not just Schmidt's) and make a list of the fifty richest people in the world. Then consider that each of these busies themselves with telling other people how to live, The whole of the Davos assemblage is pontificating, a wonderful verb based on the notion of so many pontiffs in our lives today. Personally I hold with freedom, and reserve a few choice words as highlighted by a routine from George Carlin. This probably would sound a bit like a that new smorgasbord, the "Schmidt Buffet."

Michael Leddy said...

But consider Buffett: he says here that he’s not interested in telling people how to live.

Anonymous said...

Buffett had famously said that in the last years the contest between the classes has been won by the rich. Perhaps he is interested in another way, for he lobbies for that which better feathers his nest, and if there is disciplines which are interested in telling people how to live, the top of that list finds politics and belief systems neck and neck.

Michael Leddy said...

I’m no acolyte of Warren Buffett, believe me. But if you look at that statement in context, it’s clear that he’s calling attention to increasing disparities in American culture. He’s certainly a critic of low tax rates for the wealthy.

But my point in juxtaposing Schmidt and Buffett was to contrast the one who presumes to tell us how we will live and the one who says that those who do so are presumptuous.