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Larry Page: Deconstructing the sadness

Jason Snell | May 17, 2013
Jason Snell analyzes Google CEO Larry Page's speech at Wednesday's Google I/O keynote.

He revisited the subject when talking about health care:

Why are people so focused on keeping your medical history private? The answer is probably insurance. You're very worried that you're going to be denied insurance. That makes no sense! So we should change the rules around insurance, so they have to insure people. The whole point of insurance is that it insures everyone.

So again, maybe we have a safe place where people can go and live in a world like that, where they make those kind of changes. We can see if they work, and then the world can learn from that and move on, but not everybody has to participate in it. Because I'm worried we're not making some of the fundamental changes we need to make fast enough.

So what's the plan here? Is Google going to create its own island nation somewhere, an experimental place where the only law is Google's own and the only constant is change? They've probably got the money to do it. But it sounds a little too much like the plan of a James Bond villain to me.

Still, Page has a point. The friction caused by technological advancement pushing against slow-to-react cultural institutions can be tremendous. What's the solution? Clearly, Page doesn't think the answer is for the pace of technology to slow down. Bringing humility and doubt to the party is a start, but what happens then? Setting up your own Burning Man zone doesn't seem practical. Though with Google, anything is possible. Maybe you'll need to put on a blindfold and hop in the back of a self-driving car to get to the promised land.


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