Google: Kids Should Erase Their Identities

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Over the weekend, Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat down with Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins. It was largely an opportunity for Schmidt to push back against allegations that Google has reached its peak. As a result, Schmidt spent a lot of time talking about the groovy, futuristic things Google is working on:

If you need milk and there's a place nearby to get milk, Google will remind you to get milk. It will tell you a store ahead has a collection of horse-racing posters, that a 19th-century murder you've been reading about took place on the next block.

While that all sounds pretty helpful, some of Schmidt's premonitions were downright dystopian. In one exchange, he predicted a future in which changing your name will be a kind of rite of passage for children. They'll do it to escape the "digital trail" of youthful indiscretions (lurid Facebook photos, profane tweets, etc.):

He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites...

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time... I mean we really have to think about these things as a society."

(H/t: Ryan Tate)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.