By: E&P Staff
Anne Nelson | PBS Mediashift
On Wednesday night, over 200 movers and shakers from the fields of finance, law, and policy crowded into a meeting room at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York to hear a talk by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the new “director of Google Ideas” (and Council fellow), Jared Cohen. The event was part of the Council’s ongoing CEO Speakers series, which has brought a steady stream of corporate moguls through the doors of the organization’s elegant Park Avenue headquarters.
This, however, was a mogul evening with a difference. Schmidt and Cohen based their talk on their co-authored article, The Digital Disruption, in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, the Council’s flagship publication.
In both the article and the talk, Schmidt and Cohen made a strong and irrefutable argument that digital media is altering world affairs.
“I’m extraordinarily excited about the scale of the mobile revolution,” Schmidt said. “… There are four to five billion mobile phones of one kind or another and we are approaching a billion smart phones.”
Schmidt added that the effect of Moore’s Law’s_law will be to transform smart phones into the world’s dominant communications platform in the near future.
The implications of the mobile revolution, he said, “are just beginning to be understood. But remember that these devices are more powerful than supercomputers were a few years ago, and we are putting them in the hands of people who’ve never had anything like it before.”
But Schmidt’s conclusion about the cultural impact of this revolution was more tentative.
“We’ll run a test and discover if everyone else is as obsessed with Britney Spears as Americans are … and the answer is probably yes,” he said.