Solve for X: Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin open the event

Uploaded by wesolveforx on 07.02.2012


ERIC SCHMIDT: My real job here is to welcome everybody.
Let's see, I was born in Washington, DC.
And the X, if there's an X for me, is I'm actually working on
governance, and what does it mean when you have the world
connected together, and what can you do with society, with
the kind of information resources, and all the things
that we're doing?
In fact, I'm writing a book on that subject.
The inspiration for this whole process came from two
basically crazy and wonderful people--
Astro and Megan.
They think of themselves as the cruise directors, and they
think of themselves as really sort of sponsoring this.
And I think that they represent, in many ways, the
best of Google.
And in our conversations, the notion was, maybe we can use
Google's name and perhaps convening authority to try to
make a difference in the world.
We have in the room, of course, Ram Shriram, who is
representing our board.
Ram is over there.
Sergey, of course, who frankly, the entire Google X,
almost everything you see, obviously the company as well,
I guess, by derivative induction, would not exist.
And he has been a genuine champion of real innovation.
And, of course, we have a couple of other people.
Sebastian Thrun is here-- where's Sebastian?
who actually is running a large part of this.
We're trying to do things differently from other people.
We're trying to do innovation differently.
We're trying to think about it.
When I sit down and I talk to Larry and Sergey, sort of the
greatest partnership of my life professionally,
obviously, is that every time I say something which I think
is pretty interesting, they say, you're not
thinking broad enough.
You're not thinking new enough.
You're not thinking different enough.
I think they were like this when they were children, is
the only way I can describe.
So when I was thinking about this, I remember something
that Peter Diamandis told me.
And you probably don't remember this, Peter.
But Peter--
and again, he has his own X called the X Prize, of course.
He said that, life is who you travel with.
And that stuck me, because I thought that maybe what I
should do is organize to travel my professional life
through the people who I find most interesting.
And the people that I find most interesting, modeled
after Larry and Sergey, are people who want to change the
world, who have the chutzpah, or the arrogance, or the
genius, or the just craziness to think that they can do it
and that they need some help.
And by the way, the help they need is encouragement.
They need somebody to believe in them.
They need to believe that somehow this thing can happen.
And so the principle that we established around this event
and bringing you all together is that there was safety in
numbers, that if we could find other people like you--
and remember, we called you, and every one that
we called said yes.
That's an important principle.
So we understood that we were trying to put together a group
and a team of people who knew what they wanted to do.
They could use some help.
Maybe we could help them a little bit along the way to
changing the world.
So in this particular formulation, which I think is
the defining problem of innovation at level, what you
see is you see hope for America.
You see hope for the Western world.
You see hope for Asia.
It is up to us to invent the solutions that will solve the
world's problems.
In this particular group, we have representatives of what
we think, in our sort of humble judgment, represent
some of the biggest opportunities that either are
in front of us or problems that we're creating by virtue
of the things that we're doing.
If in a small way, we, Google, representing what we hope is
excellence and commitment, if we can help you along the way,
we will have done our job.
Our contribution is small.
Yours is large.
Our commitment is to popularize your ideas, try to
figure out a way to take this.
This is a very important event.
This is a founding concept of our
thinking about these things.
If this works, you can help us figure out a way to scale
this, something of concept.
When I talked to Larry, who's not here tonight but is hoping
to be here tomorrow, Larry says, I don't
want to do just research.
I want to do research that makes something happen.
I don't want to do writing that just people read.
I want the writing to lead to action.

And I thought, Sergey, maybe you could add a little bit
representing Larry as well.
From my perspective, we've been looking for this, looking
forward for you all to be here for months.
So this is a really big day for us.
SERGEY BRIN: Thank you very much, Eric, for that eloquent
And we certainly, Larry and I-- well, I would say Larry is
really the ambitious one of the three of us.
But I think I've taken a bit of that with me from spending
so much time with him, and now Eric has, too.
I'm very excited to be working in technology,
particularly at this time.
And one thing that I just remembered, I was just sitting
with Peter here at a dinner, Peter Diamandis, who some of
you might know from the X Prize.
Several years ago, we were together in Baikonur in
Kazakhstan to see a Soyuz launch.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Do you really want to tell them that story?

SERGEY BRIN: It was very, very close.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Well, let's just say that the Russian guard,
through the interpreter--
Sergey understood Russian--
said if the rocket blows up, we're all dead.
And Sergey said, sure!

SERGEY BRIN: And we were all foolish enough
to go on this adventure.
It was incredibly close.
We went, drove in toward this rocket, and there were
hundreds of people all going the other way.
SERGEY BRIN: And that, by the way, that was really an
astonishing sight.
If you ever have the opportunity, I highly
recommend it.
It's really not at all comparable, at least to the
American launches that I've seen, because those are, like,
five miles away behind a mountain.
And in Russia, they're not as concerned with safety.
But the reason I'm reminded of that, aside from that
risk-taking, is because we stopped in a
museum there they had.
And there was an old computer.
It was sort of like a Russian copy of an ENIAC or something.
And Charles Simonyi, who was with us, who was I guess the
only two-time space tourist, pointed out to us its
different parts.
And we took out one of its vacuum tubes, which was like a
one-bit flip-flop or something.
And I was really struck by that, because then I pulled
apart my phone, took out the microSD card, which was 16
gigabytes, and put it up next to it.
And I took a photo at the time.
And so that was 16 gigabytes, so about 100
billion times more data.
And it was tiny.
You could barely see it on this vacuum tube.
And obviously, we all live Moore's Law.
We all believe it, understand it.
But to see that physical difference right in front of
me, that was pretty astonishing.
And now, the opportunity to really be able to use that
difference, I mean, that's what we've done with Google,
with the various--
be it search or Gmail or things like that, where we can
deploy amazing computational power, just searching through
all the world's knowledge in fractions of a second, that's
thanks to those advances in technology and thanks to
Moore's Law.
And that's been incredible to watch happen and now to see,
well, where does that take us next?
And how much computational capability does each of our
phones in our pockets have?
Sorry, I left mine over there.
But I'm sure each of you has an incredibly powerful
computer, even by the standards of the computers
that we started operating Google on, by the servers that
we used 10 years ago.
Today, you have something far more capable in your pocket,
and that's really astounding.
And the applications of that are
incredible, too, I believe.
We have our own sort of ventures that are a bit of
moon shots.
I mentioned one during dinner, which is
our autonomous vehicles.
And that's really exciting, to be able to use technology to
really liberate people.
If you think of--
aside from all of us who have to deal with daily commutes
and things like that--
the people who are either disabled or too old or too
young, and for them to be able to get around in their life,
it's just incredible to see the impact that technology can
So I'm super excited to see all of you here.
I had a chance to talk to a few of you now about all of
your respective moon shots.
And it's amazing to me, the creativity, the ambition.
And I am really looking forward to
learning from all of you.
Thank you.

MALE SPEAKER: Let us define X. X is a solution, a solution to
a seemingly insurmountable problem, like climate change
or cancer, one that affects the world.
But what if we redefine X as a challenge, an opportunity for
radical thinking, a chance to light up the world with
breakthrough ideas and cutting-edge technology, the
stuff of science fiction that just might fly after all?
Solving for X requires wonder and imagination and a vision
to build seemingly impossible solutions to the world's
biggest problems. Solve for X--
moon shot thinking.