Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

“Humans, Computers Each Have Their Place”

December 15th, 2011 / in conference reports, research horizons / by Erwin Gianchandani

In The Washington Post yesterday:

Modern technological advances have sparked many concerns that supercomputers, robots and other sophisticated machinery will soon erase the need for skilled workers, especially in industries like manufacturing and construction, perhaps driving the nation’s unemployment rate even higher in the years ahead.


Google Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) responds to questions at an event for the Economic Club of Washington, DC on Monday [image courtesy The Economic Club of Washington, DC/Paul Morse via The Washington Post].Similarly, Americans’ increasing dependence on technology, ranging from constant computer use to around-the-clock interaction with mobile phones, has prompted many observers and academics to question whether the line separating people and technology is blurring in an all too dangerous manner.


On Monday, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt offered words to mollify those concerns [after the jump].


“Over the next five or 10 years, computers and humans will be distinguishable. We’re not merging, trust me,” he said during a speech in Washington. “Humans will get very, very good at what we do, like fun, innovation, entertainment, all the things we know and love about ourselves. Computers will get extraordinarily good at the things they’re very good at, which is the ability to solve problems and infinite memory.”


During a Q&A session afterward, Schmidt urged business owners to harness technology to help them accurately predict the future outlook for their companies. He explained that, during the early years at Google, an engineer had discovered through complex computer analysis that the company was low-balling its quarterly revenue gains. Schmidt said he kept the information to himself, quietly spending additional funds and making what turned out to be successful investments for Google.


“I learned something about business that day,” he said. “You should be able to predict your business down just a few dollars just using statistical information and analysis, because it can now be done rather easily.”

Read the full story here.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

“Humans, Computers Each Have Their Place”