Friday, May 17, 2013

Welcome to Google Island


I awoke aboard a boat, just before daybreak, which was weird. The last thing I remembered was being in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, wrapping up a four-hour Google I/O keynote liveblogging session. My last recollection was of Google CEO Larry Page taking questions from the audience and promoting a vision of a utopia where society could be free to innovate and experiment, unencumbered by government regulations or social norms. 

“I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out some new things and figure out,” he had said. “What is the effect on society? What’s the effect on people? Without having to deploy it into the normal world.” 

I realized I was the only one aboard, and the boat was driving itself. 

It hit the shore at first light, approaching from a perfect angle that allowed the sun to just peek out over the back of the island. I hopped over the side, and watched as the boat slowly put itself into reverse, turned, and headed back out to sea.

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