Eric Schmidt at NASA 50th Anniversary Lecture Series

Uploaded by Google on 22.01.2008

>> MCGUIRE: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Joanne McGuire. I am the Executive Vice
President of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, and I am just very pleased to welcome
all of you to this second in a series of distinguished lecture series, co-sponsored by NASA and Lockheed
Martin Corporation, in honor of NASA's 50th Anniversary. These lectures are designed to
highlight the extraordinary ways in which our nation's space program has brought both
tangible and inspirational benefits, not just to the American public, but to the world at
large. I'd like to ask all of you to please join me for a moment in congratulating NASA
for nearly 50 years of really truly remarkable achievements. All of us at Lockheed Martin are proud to
have been a strong and trusted partner of NASA since its inception and this lecture
series is the latest manifestation of our half century relationship. As NASA's partner
on the Orion crew exploration vehicle, we anticipate our stars will continue to shine
together for many decades to come. There is no question that the greatest discoveries
are yet to come, as NASA and our nation pursue a bold new era of exploration. Joining us
today is Shana Dale, Deputy Administrator for NASA. Shana, we're delighted to be partnered
with NASA for this special lecture series and to have partnered with NASA for these
many years on our nation's vital space achievements. Today, our latest achievement is securing
the services of Dr. Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google with us today as our distinguished
speaker. We're honored to have you with us today, as well, Dr. Schmidt, and we look forward
to hearing your comments. To introduce our speaker, it is my great pleasure to have Congressman
Bart Gordon, Chairman of the US House Committee on Science and Technology and Dean of the
Tennessee Congressional Delegation. Congressman Gordon's commitment to responsible, bipartisan
efforts to advance science, technology and education has been really the hallmark of
his Congressional service. He is highly regarded for his work on issues important to NASA and
has fought for additional funding to ensure that the agency maintains a robust and balanced
set of programs in science, aeronautics and human space flight. Congressman, Gordon, please.
>> GORDON: Thank you so much, Ms. McGuire, and more importantly, I want to thank Lockheed
and the News Museum for your hospitality here tonight, or today, maybe--oh, there's the
Capitol there too. That was good timing. Thank you for that. And NASA, thank you for putting
together this 50th anniversary lecture series. You know, in that regard, it's interesting
to note that the House Science & Technology Committee is also celebrating a 50th anniversary
this year. Both NASA and our committee are children of Sputnik and as the inspiration
for so many of the folks that were early involved in the NASA program. And it's my great pleasure
to be able to introduce Dr. Eric Schmidt today. You know, I can really think of no one that
is more appropriate in speaking to us today about inspiring innovation and exploration
as it is Dr. Schmidt. I have a long history of his, or a long sheet of his resume, but
I think it's--rather than take his time, you can all Google him; I'm sure he's heard that
before. But you know, he really is in a rarified air of those CEOs that have been able to take
a company and take it from a noun to a verb. You know, my generation, I still say can I
Xerox this, or may I have a Band-Aid or a Kleenex. And so now you have joined that very
small realm of verbs or nouns to verbs. And I think also that Google exemplifies the critical
importance of innovation and R&D to--that is necessary if we're going to continue the
quality of life that we have in this country. I was talking to Ms. McGuire, she has a 7-year-old
daughter, I have a 6-year-old daughter and I'm very concerned that when you look around
the world now, there are almost seven billion people in the world, half of which make less
than $2 a day. And if our daughters are going to be able to inherit a nation with a standard
of living that's going to be even better than ours then, we have to do it by through innovation
and research. We have to be making 50 or 100 widgets for every one widget they're making
elsewhere. And that's why I was reading today about cloning. I don't know whether Dr. Schmidt
we can clone you or not, but we're going to have to have increase really emphasis in this
country on research and development so that our kids won't become the first generation
of Americans to inherit a national standard of living less than their parents. It's a
real challenge. You're going to be a part of being able to solve that challenge and
I'm glad you're here, and I'm sure people are glad that I'm not going to take any more
time from your speech. I will say that hopefully, we might get you cloned some day, but we can't--and
we can clone animals now, but we can't clone a Congressman and I'm in the middle of a vote.
And so I've already missed the first two and so I'm--please accept my apologies, I'll look
forward to hearing your remarks that I'm sure are going to be re-telecast later. So, thank
you all. >> SCHMIDT: Well, thank you very much, Congressman,
in your busy schedule to come. This is a Congressman who has led a lot of the most important fights
for NASA, for science, and for space exploration. His service is phenomenal. I want to congratulate
NASA for its 50th year anniversary. NASA has been a part of all of our lives for so much
of the fantasy and the excitement of being an American and being a citizen of our great
country. I want to talk today about architectures, and how systems will work over the next 50
years. I want to think that architectures of how we go about science and exploration
and technology will be different, right. We will have to think about it in a different
way. I think that the Internet will show a new approach for us, how we can actually build
these systems. Those of you in the audience are people who actually are in charge of how
the system will evolve over the next 50 years. Now is the time to think about how to design
it so that we have a tremendous next 50 years. The next set of missions that the President
and others have articulated, Mars and so forth and so on, will span many generations, just
as the Internet has. And I want to take you through some of my observations on that. I
also want to take a minute and congratulate the museum. Shelby and the team here are in
the process of getting organized for launching this formally later this spring. This is a
phenomenal accomplishment by all the people involved with this, and it's a strong testament
to America, to the principles the country has been founded and all the things that we
care about. And I'm very, very proud to have been invited to actually participate in this,
I think one of the first major public events here. So, let's talk a little bit about NASA
and what I'm going to do is have Robin get started, Robin Zeigler, get started. We're
going to do a few demos here to give you a sense of what is possible now with some of
the things that NASA has been doing. As a pilot, I'm very actually grateful for everything
that NASA has done, and I think one of the things that people always forget is how much
impact NASA has had on things other than space--digital fly-by wire systems, wind shear and icing;
perfect, good opportunities today to take advantage of these new systems built by NASA.
Jet engine combustors, engine nozzle chevrons, all of these interesting parts of the technology
that you all simply consume as, you know, as consumers, you don't even notice it. But
when I think about NASA and I think about Google, I think of--both has being in the
business of making things that were amazing commonplace, right? If you look at the history
of aviation which I know something about, people were terrified with this sort of weather
before NASA came along. It was actually a serious life-threatening problem and now we
can deal with it. That's an amazing achievement. It happens every day. And it's going to continue,
given the leadership of NASA and the mission of NASA and the things that NASA is trying
to do. When I think about Google, we try to do the same thing. We try to do the things
that are amazing. The things which were amazingly impossible 10 years ago are now routine. I
was trying to think of an "aha" moment, I thought, well, what is the most interesting
query that I can give? And I thought how long will I live? It seems like the most important
question you could ask Google. And since we use Google for everything, I asked Google
and the answer is, there's an age calculator, I typed in all the parameters and it came
up 67. Bad answer. Bad answer, bad answer, reject that answer. Okay. So, I reprogrammed
the age calculator a little bit and I came up to 86; much better answer. I stopped. I
moved to other searches. That's an "aha" moment and I know how long I'm going to live and
the answer is 84 not 67 because Google told me. Now, Robin, let's start. This is the crookedest
street in the world in San Francisco and you're looking at with a product called Google Street
View. We started off with a view of the earth and as you saw as we zoomed down. And you
notice you see the folks and the cars, you have street signs and so forth. Is that Alcatraz
in the distance there? Maybe you could sort of go, yeah, I'm not sure. It's a tourist
destination now, don't worry. And here we are, and here you are and you're just on Google
wandering around. What's interesting about this is look at the human scale of this experience,
this exploration. It seems kind of routine, right? This is, by the way, phenomenal technology
to do this, before we get too ahead of it. Let's keep going. When we go to--the same
thing in Google Earth, the first thing was called Street View, in Google Earth we can
see everything there is around. The first image that you saw was the same street in
Google Earth and now we're visiting, looks like, Washington, DC. And of course, here's
the Capitol, which you're right sort of next door. Now we can wander around and so forth.
Now the pictures here include these 3D models of all the buildings. And, the shapes that
you're seeing, and the contours were, in fact, calculated in 11 days in missions in the Shuttle
in 2000. For completely unrelated reasons, they decided to do a topography of the Earth
and they happened to, by virtue of their public mission, make it available to everyone. So
we just sort of took it and use it and now when you use Google Earth you're really following
the data that the Shuttle mission calculated. Keep going. Now when you think about Washington,
there's a lot of discussions, for example, about--let's see what we're going to do next
here. Yes, it turns out that there's a lot of debate about global warming. And this is
a--what is the--how many meters? Five meters, 15 feet. And so the good news is the Capitol
is going to be preserved. Okay. I'm a little worried about the Smithsonian and I want you
all to look at the NASA Headquarters. It's a little bit of a problem. I think it has
an underground parking garage; you're in big trouble. Not to make a point about global
warming or any of those things or sea level change, but there is an article yesterday
that says that there is a possibility of this scenario occurring by the years 2100. Now,
why is it important we show this to you now, because this is an example of the kind of
visualization that you can do by taking this platform that represents Google Earth, and
then showing what could happen. Obviously, we don't want that to happen. Keep going.
What's interesting about all of this--what are we going to do next here? Yeah, let's
take a look. This is another example of NASA. NASA, I think this was Langley, gave us some
climate models, and the climate models happen to show the path of Katrina. And so we've
now overlaid the images that we got from you all, essentially, and you can see as you see
the cloud moving, it has information about velocity and position and so forth and so
on. These models were used real-time in order to understand what was going on and, of course,
you could see the velocity and that kind of thing. Many, many, many more people participated
in understanding the phenomena and obviously also the aftermath. We won't show you now,
but there's a large amount of imagery that was done to help rescue missions and so forth,
again, overlaid on top of this work, again, in conjunction with NASA. Let's move to our
next one. Now when I think about the Earth, I also would like to think about what are
the things that I'd like to do and I've always wanted to climb Mt. Everest. Now, if you're
looking at me, this is clearly not going to happen. So what we've decided to do is, I
was just sitting in my office one day and I thought, let me just climb Mt. Everest on
Google Earth. So here we are and we sort of wander up and you can see the South Call and
so forth and so on and this is the vision, and I've achieved my objective. Well, have
I? Yeah, actually I have. I have a sense of it. I have a sense of what it's like to be
at the highest peak of Earth. Again, I could participate in this new and interesting way.
And by the way, it's really cold. Okay. If I then look at--let's see where we're going
next. When I think about--what I also like to do, I was talking about aviation. We have
a person who is a blogger who covers Google Earth who decided to build a model, a flight
stimulator. And he took a publicly available Swiss fighter pilot video of a Swiss Air Force
pilot wandering around the Alps. You see on one side, you see the actual film and on the
other side, you see the recreation in Google Earth. Now, again, this is available to all of us
through the work that NASA and others and have done to make it possible to see topography
and pictures. This information is satellite and aviation data and you'll see that--and
of course it comes with a great soundtrack and so forth and so on. And again, someone
else, just like me flying Mt. Everest, this is perhaps a person who is unlikely to be
flying his own F-18 in the middle of the Swiss Alps can really recreate this. And it's just
a phenomenal experience. We have many, many technologies coming that are like this over
the next little while. Why don't--in fact, here's a picture of the fake pilot, there's
a picture of the real pilot. So this author even inserted a picture of himself in it.
Let's move to our next one. When I think about this whole phenomenon, how we use information,
I then think about scale and I was trying to think about what's the best example that
I can use about scale? And I was trying to think about, well, there's the moon sort of
nearby. So what we've done now is we've simply taken imagery of the moon, thank you, NASA.
It's by the way,, in case you want to go visit the moon, if you're not
currently planning on a moon mission anytime soon. Now, and here we are and let's go visit
where Neil Armstrong went. And you can, you'll see that we can, in fact, get to the point
where you can see a picture of his footprints. Now the kind of stuff that I'm talking about
which we did under a Space Act Agreement with NASA, and we're showing not just NASA planetary
content, as we've discussed, but also we're working on disaster response. Here is a picture
of Neil Armstrong's footprints. Again, these pictures are collaborated, are given to us
by NASA and others. This mechanism is genetically available on all of Google Earth. So, we can,
showing off what we can do. Let's keep going. Now if you're on the moon, perhaps what you're
really interested in is space. So let's go to a--I don't know, this is a particular interesting
star field. This star field is--looks like a normal star field. It was actually done
in the deep space initiative with the Hubble. And, this is a picture of the--and to give
you an example, the width of that picture is somewhere around 10 to the 25 centimeters,
which is a number that is--here's an analogy for you. If the interaction between carbon
atoms is maybe 1 over 10 to the minus 12th, because of the way they interact, and 10 to
the 12th is on the order of 100,000 years. So what you're seeing is you're seeing something
that has the scale or width, something you've never seen before. There's nothing in the
world of the scale, this is the deepest image, it's also the most, the oldest image we have
in history because it was done approximately 13 billion years ago roughly 10% of what we
believe the life of the universe is. And it was not done with one picture, by the way.
The Hubble went around and took picture after picture after picture because there was so
little light. Pretty neat, okay? So you say normal picture. Let's see where that picture
is in context, so you got a sense of how far it really is. Oh, looks like a pretty normal
star field. And by the way, there are billions and billions of stars and galaxies even in
this field. As we move out, we begin to see that perhaps this is a tiny, tiny, little
piece of a tiny, tiny little constellation that doesn't even show up on our constellation
map, as we go deeper, and deeper, and deeper in both time and history. Some of our constellations
begin to show up and now we begin to see what is familiar to us. There is no tool and there
is no feature I know of on Earth that can show you a resolution that goes from 1 to
10 to the 25th in that amount of time. That's what NASA can do. That's what information
technology can do and that's, frankly, why we all work at Google. Let's thank Robin for
the demo and let me keep, let me keep talking. So if you think about it, what you really
do is you set up audacious goals and you make this all happen because you cannot possibly
anticipate the challenges that you have to surmount. It's clear that the assumptions
will change and you cannot predict the innovations that engineers will make. The Internet architecture
was invented in 1973. The World Wide Web was invented in 1991, 1992. The protocols that
we deal with every day now that are so commonplace were not even thought about 20 years, until
20 years after the original design. That is a remarkable achievement of technology in
computer science. There's no way to understand how people will take advantage of this technical
innovation. A man in Italy used Earth, Google Earth to discover the remains and antiques
of an ancient Roman villa, literally in his backyard. Archeologists in France used Google
Earth to discover a hundred candidate sites for ancient Celtic settlements. In the search
for these various meteor craters, an impact craters, they're using the satellite imagery
from NASA and the other work in order to actually do real science on how the Earth was formed
and shaped. We didn't anticipate all of this, we just put the data out there and people
did it. It's also clear to me that the people who start the mission are not the ones that
are going to complete it. An interesting fact that I did in researching this is that the
average age in the front room for Apollo 11 was about 32. The average age at Google is
about 31. The memory of the IBM 360s--I used as a young programmer on IBM 360-91 which
will both date me and also give you, have a sense of sympathy for me; 2.5 megabits in
core memory, a real cores. The memory of the iPod that our average employee carries now
is 80 gigabytes, which is 256,000 times 2.5 megabits. So, the rate of change here has
been so phenomenal. It's of the scale that I just showed you in that star field. So the
Internet is the fastest growing communications medium in history, again, so fitting that
we're here at this wonderful museum. More than 1.3 billion Internet users worldwide,
on the order of a couple hundred million new users every year, 8 hours of video get uploaded
to YouTube every day, that should be every minute, and there's 70 million blogs exist
in a 120,000 created every day. It's a lot of blogs and a lot of writers, not so many
readers I suspect. When you, when you--this democratization of information which is fundamental
to what is occurring here has a lot of implications for both NASA and for Google, and for the
world here in Washington. Since anyone can create, edit, publish and share information,
you know, it's a new jump ball, it's a new scenario. And normally what happens is that
the rate of progress in field occurs at a relatively predictable rate. Examples would
be that scientific research, the number of papers doubles every 15 years; so sort of
a predictable rate. In astronomy, the--since we're sort of talking about astronomy right
now--the distance of the farthest galaxy we could see has doubled roughly every 10 years;
so again, reasonable rates. The world that I live in, doubling times are much, much shorter.
Moore's Law, of course, everybody knows about this, processing power doubles every 18 months.
That means, by the way, 10 times every 5 years, a hundred times in 10. There's a law called
Kryder's Law which is the memory, disk memory, in particular, doubles every 12 months. So
this immense, immense amounts of data stores being created over and over again. So, an
obvious example is that in 2019, an iPod type device would be able to contain 85 years of
video. In other words, you could never watch it. You'd be dead. You're going to be carrying
it and you'll say, well, I couldn't watch it. I'm sorry, I died. It's actually a serious
problem like because it's going to cause a lot of stress. You know, if I'd only lived
another year longer, I could have watched that other episode. So, the other interesting
thing about this in spurge [PH] of information is that there's a lot of new voices and new
ideas. With all that, with all that content out there, you know, search is obviously what
Google does, becomes it's more important than ever. Over 20% of the searches that we do
every day are for items we haven't seen in at least the last 90 days. So people are naturally
curious, and I want us to take advantage of that curiosity. So here's some ideas for success
as we think about this. The buzzwords that we use in computer science are open, scalable
and flexible architectures. And a lot of the NASA work was done before that became the--that's
the most politically correct way I could say this, before those became the principles of
design. These hardware designs that are not extensible ultimately do not serve the mission
very well. In my case, to show you how foolish I was, when I was a graduate student at Berkley,
I built a network--one of the first networks built of its type--for my Master thesis, and
by the way, I got my Masters thesis and I designed a protocol where there could only
be 26 machines, because there were only four at the time and I couldn't imagine that the
university would ever have more than 26. So the machines were called A, B, C, D, you know,
etcetera. They still gave me my degree and then shortly there later they tore out my
network and put in a proper network. So everybody can make this mistake. The Internet started
off with four nodes, now it has somewhere between 250,000 and a million broad networks,
by any definition. It's just phenomenal. The number of servers, there are roughly--January
1983, we have an accurate number because of DARPA, 400 servers. In July 2007, our best
estimate is 489 million servers. And this is growing and continuing to grow. It's growing
faster than you think, because it's growing all the time. So, when you build an innovation
model, you want to build it in a way that's collaborative. And this is often at odds with
how people think about government programs, procurements, the traditional structures of
business and private groups and so forth and so on. You want to figure out a way to do
it in a much more open way. And everybody loves what NASA is doing. It should be possible
to pull this off big time. The web, for example, today is built out of products known as Linux,
Apache, MySQL. These are open software technologies. The creators of MySQL, by the way, just so
you--in cases there's any concern that these might be hobby businesses--were just purchased
for about a billion dollars by Sun Microsystems. These are real businesses with different characteristics,
but it shows you that you can really deliver tremendous value. So if you solve a big problem,
solve it by opening it up to the public. Assume that you don't have all the answers because
I can assure you that we don't. And I suspect nobody does. It's too, everything is too connected.
You're not getting the benefit of everyone unless you figure out a way to do it in an
open way. There's a couple of really good ones. NASA did something called the Centennial
Challenge Program. And I think one of the people here was one of the authors of this
program, so thank you for that. A particular engineer from Maine won $200,000 in May 2007,
for designing a new astronaut glove. The inner bladder of the glove used one of his kitchen
cleaning gloves because it was the right solution, and it just worked. And there's example after
example that when you bring in the creativity of people who maybe he didn't, maybe he didn't
have a lot else going on in his life, you know, maybe he needed something to work on.
You know, you just made his day and you just saved yourself a million dollars, but more
importantly, you served the mission really, really well. The Lunar X Prize that Google
has announced. We announced a few months ago a prize which is graduated, but think of it
as between $20 and $30 million. Basically, get something launched, get it to the moon,
make sure when it lands it can still drive around. Okay, very straightforward. That's
the non-technical explanation. Look at our website, you can see all the details if you
want to bid. Why would we do this? Because it's fun, right? It's just so much fun. Now
the people who are going to attempt the Lunar X Prize, and we think there's a whole bunch
of folks are probably going to spend more than the value of the prize. But what's nice
about the prize is it brings everybody together, it gets everybody's competitive juices, and
you get the multiplicative effect, not just of the money that we're putting in, the money
that NASA's putting in, but the money that all the other people, all the other universities
and other programs, that really want to be part of this historic opportunity to change
science in a good way. Another aspect of the problem that I think we all face has to do
with this notion of how do you learn? And in these interconnected worlds, you have to
learn more quickly. Part of the success of the Internet and it's true of all the companies;
Google is simply one of the examples--is that we're built on a ship and iterate philosophy.
What happens is basically we try something, we try something, we try something, and we're
proud of this, by the way. We celebrate the fact that we tried this, we cancelled this,
this didn't work, we shifted and so forth. They wiggle, right, in an interesting way.
And not only does the technology allows that, but it's part of our culture. We have programs
where we encourage our engineers to spend 20% of their time on things of their own interest,
not what their manager is telling them that they have to do. Again, unheard of in traditional
engineering that drives much of the creative process inside our company. There are many,
many such examples. So, I don't know. Who here was a big Apple Lisa user? The old, it
was the predecessor to the Mac, right. But they learned a lot from the Apple Lisa that
made the Mac a great success way back when. It happens in telecommunications. The AT&T
long distance network crashed for nine hours due to a bug consisting of a single line of
C code in 1990. We've all forgotten that, but the fact of the matter is they do it too.
So the obvious messages for me is to say, well, NASA, you should just ship and iterate.
Well, this is a minor problem, but you can't apply exactly the same approach we do because
Mars and the Earth are only this close on this day. Or Saturn is only in this position
in this particular place. Or you have a particular launch window due to orbital mechanics that
you really do have to launch within this window. And there are some--humorous now, but embarrassing
at the time examples. Gemini 5 splashed down off course 100 miles because of a programming
error involving the way they did the calculation with a decimal point. An even more famous
example, and unfortunately a negative one in 1962, Mariner 1, went off course, and NASA
at the time had to blow it up because of an error in the FORTRAN, right. And, a hyphen
had been dropped from the guidance program loaded aboard the computer. It's been quoted
as the single most expensive hyphen in history. So I don't think it's fair for me to say,
well, hey you, guys, you should just adopt this ship and iterate phenomena. I think what
you have to do is you have to recognize that the ship and iterate model is the best model
for learning and then adapt it to the constraints that are very much in your present. So one
way to think about it, and as a manager I talk to people a lot about this is that one
of the best ways to be lucky is to create more luck. And the way you create more luck
is you have more at bats. You get more shots, more launches, more learning, so forth and
so on. So the more you put everything around one single event, the less likely it's going
to be a perfect success. The more you figure out a way to iterate, and there are many,
many ways in which you can iterate. You can iterate with openness. You can iterate with
extensibility. Remember the story that I used about the Internet, that the underlying protocols
were designed around a simple model of end-to-end connectivity. No one anticipated all of the
stuff that would be built on top of it. So given that you have these real constraints
about launches and windows and so forth, make the platform such that it's the simplest possible
platform that people can then build on top of. Build open systems, not closed systems.
Don't try to solve the whole problem right now. The problem as correctly defined in my
view is to build the platform, the thing that is extensible to the next example. Another
example, we were looking at this. Most spacecraft can't talk to each other in any significant
way. Now you say, well, I'm not sure I want spacecraft talking to each other. Well, actually,
it's kind of useful for spacecraft to talk to each other especially when they can relay
information and telemetry and other information, and furthermore, we as a country can use that
for many, many different reasons. Well, isn't it obvious that the spacecraft should have
an Internet on them too? I mean it doesn't have to be an open Internet, you could have
your own private copy with a gateway, so people aren't randomly steering the spacecraft wherever
they want to go. But the fact of the matter is it does make sense. And in fact, there
are people now working, and this is a great story, people working to build an interplanetary
Internet. That all the same principles that I'm talking about apply, not just on Earth,
but to the objects that we're busy launching, and by the way, not just the US, but everybody,
but also the moon and Mars and so forth and so on. And this Internet is interesting because
there's this minor problem that as you spin, right, you lose connectivity, you have to
wait for the packet. So the whole notion of latency is very different. It's like a long
time before that packet shows up. But then it comes very quickly and then there's a long
time again. We haven't quite figured a way to solve planetary rotation yet. So the fact
of the matter is you have to design these protocols, with a small number of modifications
it's possible for NASA and the world to have not just an Internet that is part of the Earth,
but also an internet that goes all the way out there. I don't know if it's get all the
way out to the deep space fields because it will take 13 billion years to get there, but
it'll get pretty far. So by standardizing the protocols, by standardizing the ways in
which things talk to each other, by making sure that when you have multiple vendors,
multiple contractors, they're using a common substrate of communication and extensibility,
you have a much, much greater chance of creating an opportunity like the ones I'm describing
in the Internet where this platform, this very interesting thing that was designed for
one thing, is in fact now even more valuable, even more powerful, rather than mission limited
in one way or the other. So the technology-based case continues and I think it's pretty interesting.
What does it look like in 10 years? Processors and phones and computers a hundred times more
powerful, storage a thousand times cheaper, a ubiquitous wireless broadband, a cell phone
for everyone who wants them in the world. This will occur in our lifetimes especially
since I'm living, remember to 84. How can NASA take advantage of this? I'll give you
another example, so something fun. NORAD has a program where Santa--they know where Santa
lives and they track Santa as he goes around the world. And these guys are pretty clever.
So, they shot videos of Santa visiting various cities and towns around the world. And they
have a route GPS as you could track him. And I thought, wow, pretty interesting. How many
people look at this? Ten million people had nothing else to do, right, but to follow Santa
as he wandered the world visiting and spreading joy around the world. It had a big impact
on families and kids. How can we, how can NASA take advantage of that? To me that's
the interesting question. There's a story about Alan Beam, one of the most famous astronauts,
that there's a benefit to being an astronaut; obvious, get lost in space. No. The benefit
is that you can get the attention of any kid for five minutes in rapt attention; if we
can't use that observation to further the mission of NASA and the things that we care
about, we're not doing our jobs right. In many ways, Google and NASA are similar in
that they're based on optimism. Pete Worden who's my good friend, one of the directors
of NASA, says that, "Remember that space is hard. It's really hard. It's hard science.
It takes an optimist to want to pull all of this off." And I like that a lot. You have
to be optimistic to want to send a man to the moon, to Mars, to explore every planet,
to build a space station. You also have to be optimistic to believe that you can cover
all the world's information starting with borrowed servers in your Stanford dorm room;
it's the same principle. And indeed, we're busy doing it as best we can. Ed Lu who is
a good employee and I think the US astronaut has been in the space the longest, I asked
him sort of what's it like? What did you do all day? He said, "I looked at the Earth.
I literally just loved to look at the earth as it was underneath me." So what I was thinking
about was, how can we get that, how can we get that feeling? Because if you think about
it, every person that I know of, basically, looks at the world on their cell phone now,
right. How can we get that same passion that Ed had, that same feeling about the world,
the world around them, the sense of wonderment? They spend--today, people spend literally
so much time looking at this screen or the other choices as well, how can we get that
information? And I think that is our joint mission. How do we get this amazing amount
of information that is being generated about the world and science and the things that
can--how can we get that so that it is the same level of rapt attention as Ed had sitting,
spinning around, right, looking at the wonderment that is the world around us. That's why I'm
such a strong supporter of NASA. That's why Google is such a strong partner for NASA and
that's why we're so very, very happy to wish NASA a great 50th anniversary. So thank you
very much and I'm interested in your questions and comments. We have our first question in the middle.
>> LOGSDAN: David Logsdan, US Chamber of Commerce, Space Enterprise Council.
>> SCHMIDT: Let's see if we can get the--I think the lady has a mike for you, that would
be great if you could--that way they could hear you on the video tape.
>> LOGSDAN: David Logsdan, US Chamber of Commerce, Space Enterprise Council. A few years ago,
the futurist, Alvin Toffler, was at a conference, a space-related conference where he mentioned
that the information age was the third wave, that space was the fourth wave. In your mind,
what do you consider the fifth wave? Is it a combination of space-related activities
and applications, coupled with information? What is your vision for the fifth wave and
with that vision, how can that be a stimulus for the economy?
>> SCHMIDT: Most people that I talked to in this area actually believe that the next huge
phenomena that's going to hit us will be in biology, in biotechnology, the issues and
opportunities that the genome, recombinant DNA, those sorts of things do. I think all
of us are to some degree enablers of that next wave. And the argument is pretty simple.
In order to do the kinds of things that we want to be able to do for health, society
as a whole, improving the lot of the world, we're going to need the kind of information
and computing power and networks and learning that's going on today in the other waves that
you described. It's probable that the combination of the creation of this enormous information
network that I talked about earlier, the commercialization of space which the NASA, the NASA leadership
has done a tremendous job moving forward, if you think about 10 years ago versus now,
again, which also creates a large number of jobs, a large number of opportunities and
this openness, right, making it possible for people to enter the system at the appropriate
things. Both of those create very large numbers of jobs and probably a significant wealth
opportunity for investors. A lot of people believe that as more and more of the stuff
is done in the private sector, people will figure out a way to make money, because there's
economic value. In Google's case, for example, these satellite images that we showed you,
we buy them from commercial satellite providers. They're making money and doing a great job
for us, by the way. There are many, many new things of that type that can be done. So one
of the reasons that I'm here is to say to you all that there are tremendous private
opportunities for investment in space technology, high technology, information technology. Google
is an example of it, there will be many others. Eventually, I think all of us will be subsumed
to some degree under this biology and biotech because the promise is so strong. They're
not quite there yet because the computers aren't quite fast enough, we don't really
quite understand the networks quite well, but everybody is working on it. Yes, sir.
Let's see if we can get a microphone. >> O'CONNELL: Matt O'Connell of GeoEye, one
of those commercial satellite operators. We get criticized for taking…
>> SCHMIDT: And a partner, thank you. Thank you for all those nice pictures.
>> O'CONNELL: Thank you. We get criticized for taking pictures of areas that some people
think are sensitive and I know that at Google there's been a debate about whether or not
you should show those pictures. I think the arguments in favor of openness are winning,
but I'd love to hear your comments, because I get it all around the world.
>> SCHMIDT: From a Google perspective, this question about public information, what's
public, what's private is turning into be one of the sort of central questions for the
Internet. And, you all should know that there's a law that restricts--you certainly know this--commercial
satellite imagery to a certain level of resolution which we're governed by and we need that,
obviously. So there, in fact, is some legislation and some regulation in this area. We've taken
a position that subject to meeting the law, and there are certain countries which have
special terms which are even more restrictive with respect to commercial imagery, we want
to get as close to that as we can because we think the society benefits from such, such
pictures. The fact of the matter is that I think we're in a transition period where people
are learning that things which are, which they thought were not generally known are
becoming more generally known. My favorite examples are these situations where something
from space--people assume that you'd never see it from space, but in fact, it's embarrassing
or the wrong thing or so forth that people are making appropriate changes. So I think
this is a transitional period. The benefits of being able to see that third dimension,
what pilots see when they fly, turns out to be phenomenal. I talked to Queen Noor about
her husband who died, who was a pilot, and she told me that part of the reason he was
a pilot was that when he flew around the Middle East, he never saw any boundaries. He never
saw the little lines that we see on the map which is what we assume those lines are like
etched in the desert, right. We all know where they are. It's right there on the map, but
it really isn't. I went to a photography show from one of the astronauts who was particularly
good at mid-format camera photography, showing what the Earth really looked like. And I think
that it's both a message of peace, but it's also a message of the importance of the Earth
that I think we want to get out. There are some things that we do to be responsive to
this. We are very, very careful not to show real-time because we think real-time could
be misused and you could imagine 20 ways in which real-time images could be used. And
we also have various mechanisms for things which are sensitive or inappropriate to try
to consider whether we should remove those as well. So we want to be sensitive to that.
But, the overwhelming conclusion is the society benefits from more of that kind of imagery
being available, and thank you for helping make that happen. More questions. Way at the
back. >> KEMP [PH]: Eric, Chris Kemp [PH] at Ames
Research Center. Increasingly, collaborative technologies are free and systems are increasingly
being developed in open source. And it's hard to procure what's free. What advice do you
have for federal agencies that are trying to use tools which are free?
>> SCHMIDT: So let's just do this again. The government which has like a trillion dollar
deficit can't buy something which is free, it has to buy something which costs money.
>> KEMP [PH]: Seemingly. >> SCHMIDT: Does that--everyone says yes.
Okay. Welcome to Washington, I guess. Even the technologies that I was describing that
are free, are, typically come with a support burden. So what companies do when they work
with the companies that I mentioned is they actually do a procurement in the Washington
sense or in the government sense, but they do it for a service. The software itself is
free, but the support, its integration and so forth, and that works pretty well. So,
we use the term free, but we all understand that people are paying for this. They're paying
for engineering, they're paying for support and so forth and so on, and that's where the
revenue is being created. To put it another way, sometimes you for the software, sometimes
you pay for the service. At the end of the day, you're going to pay for something. So,
it has to do with what you're procuring. There's no question that the generation of computer
people that I work with now are all building on top of this Linux platform which is open
source, but they're building tremendous companies. Google, of course, is largely Linux based,
to give you an example, and obviously very successful. More questions. Well, thank you for inviting me. Thank you
all for a wonderful afternoon and I hope you all get home in the middle of the storm. So
thank you very much.