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Google Chairman expresses frustration with NSA



Google Executive Chairman (right) addressed investors and executives at OASIS: The Montgomery Conference in Santa Monica Wednesday.
Google Executive Chairman (right) addressed investors and executives at OASIS: The Montgomery Conference in Santa Monica Wednesday.
Ben Bergman/KPCC

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt expressed frustration over his company’s relationship with the NSA at a tech conference in Santa Monica Wednesday.

Addressing a ballroom full of investors and business executives at OASIS: The Montgomery Summit, Schmidt was asked what relationship Google has with the NSA.

“What relationship?” he asked. “They didn’t knock. They didn’t send a letter. They just visited.”

Google is one of several companies that has publicly opposed the government’s collection of metadata. Schmidt is now part of a White House panel that will make new recommendations about privacy.

Schmidt also talked about the most important thing Google is working on right now, which he said involves artificial intelligence.

“In general, robots will become more omnipresent in our lives in a good way,” said Schmidt. They’ll replace a lot of repetitive activities that people are currently doing.”

One example is driving. When Schmidt was asked if his company would come to dominate the roads with its much-talked about drive, replied testily, ‘We never use the word ‘dominate.”’

Schmidt refused to comment on whether Google had tried to buy WhatsApp, which Facebook recently acquired, but he did say the two Silicon Valley giants share a common theme.

“Google and Facebook both want to unite the world,” he said.