FT interview with Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if 90 per cent of the people with jobs put their feet up instead and left the robots to do the work? Why didn’t the last house you bought cost only 5 per cent of what you paid for it? And is there any reason why you or your children shouldn’t one day enjoy limitless cheap power from nuclear fusion and a greatly extended lifespan?
These are the sort of questions that occupy Larry Page. At 41, the co-founder and chief executive of Google is freeing himself up to think big. A reorganisation in recent days has shifted responsibility for much of his company’s current business to a lieutenant and left him with room to indulge his more ambitious urges. The message: the world’s most powerful internet company is ready to trade the cash from its search engine monopoly for a slice of the next century’s technological bonanza.
New technologies will make businesses not 10 per cent, but 10 times more efficient, he says. Provided that flows through into lower prices: “I think the things you want to live a comfortable life could get much, much, much cheaper.”
Collapsing house prices could be another part of this equation. Even more than technology, he puts this down to policy changes needed to make land more readily available for construction. Rather than exceeding $1m, there’s no reason why the median home in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, shouldn’t cost $50,000, he says.
For many, the thought of upheavals like this in their personal economics might seem pie in the sky – not to mention highly disturbing. The prospect of millions of jobs being rendered obsolete, private-home values collapsing and the prices of everyday goods going into a deflationary spiral hardly sounds like a recipe for nirvana. But in a capitalist system, he suggests, the elimination of inefficiency through technology has to be pursued to its logical conclusion.
“You can’t wish away these things from happening, they are going to happen,” says Page. “You’re going to have some very amazing capabilities in the economy. When we have computers that can do more and more jobs, it’s going to change how we think about work. There’s no way around that. You can’t wish it away.”
He thinks about robots doing the work, housing prices collapsing, and limitless cheap power.
I love a future where the median home in Palo Alto costs $50,000.
Can't wait to see how he intends to make that happen.