Even in the world of Google's gallery of characters in top leadership positions, each less palatable than the other, Eric Schmidt always stood out as particularly unlikeable – just from the point of view of his role in turning the “Do No Evil” Google of yesteryear into a potentially dangerous behemoth it is today.
It was Schmidt who dismissed Google privacy allegations and once said, “If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.”
And sure enough, this former Google CEO has something to say about the current unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
Schmidt is of the opinion that the catastrophe leaving people jobless and isolated in their homes for months on end should make people more “grateful” to Big Tech.
And, if he could, this Democrat would also gladly throw in some “anger against the government” into the mix, he revealed in an Economic Club of New York livestream.
Schmidt accused the administration in Washington of fumbling the ball on the crisis, while often-reviled giants like Amazon stepped up admirably, according to him.
Schmidt stops short of suggesting that elected governments should be replaced by giant tech corporations in some ‘brave new world' – but he does make it clear he thinks he knows who's taking better care of America right now.
“Think about what your life would be like in America without Amazon, for example. The benefit of these corporations – which we love to malign – in terms of the ability to communicate .. the ability to get information, is profound – and I hope people will remember that when this thing is finally over,” said Schmidt, who continues to serve as an adviser to Google's parent company Alphabet and play an extremely influential role in Silicon Valley and Democratic Party politics.
Of course, nothing's stopping a company from building a huge business, provide top-notch services and technology – and still refrain from imposing ills such as mass surveillance and censorship onto society – but in Schmidt doesn't seem to mind this being a zero-sum game.
Similar concerns have been running in the same vein, such as how Big Tech is reaping the rewards of the chaos that the pandemic has caused.
Yet more activists are worried that one of the major points made by Big Tech critics over the past years – these companies' suspected monopolistic practices – may now be all but forgotten.