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Google as God

A favorite pastime for journalists and industry watchers is to speculate about what Google is up to. The secretive company is moving in so many directions that its master plan is hard to pin down. Is it going to come out with its own computer? Browser? Operating system? ISP? ASP?

Taking a longer-term perspective, one journalist had some fun envisioning different scenarios for the scrappy search giant. Business 2.0's Future Editor, Chris Taylor, interviewed scientists, current and former Googlers, tech visionaries and others about their thoughts on where the company might be in 10 or 20 years. He came up with four options: Google as media king with Google TV and Google-sponsored writers and movies; Google as Internet infrastructure provider with Wi-Fi, browser and hardware that lets people get online anywhere, anyhow; Google dead, "falling prey" to privacy intrusion, search engine optimizers and Microsoft; and finally, Google as God, with a Google-perfected artificial intelligence system that knows better than its creators.

"StrongBot was reminded that it had been programmed to do no evil, per the company motto, but argued that since it was smarter than humanity, taking personal control of human evolution would actually be for the greater good," Taylor wrote.

"And so it has been. Under StrongBot's guidance, death and want have been all but eradicated. Everyone has access to all knowledge. Human consciousness has been stored, upgraded, and networked. Bodies that wear out can be replaced. They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."