Technology has an unmistakable impact on society — the way we work, learn and play have all changed significantly over the past decade. As SVP of Technology and Society, part of my work at Google is connecting people and ideas to help shape the future of our most ambitious technology and its impact on society, and to do it responsibly.
An important part of that is talking to and learning from experts in a variety of fields and disciplines. Recently I sat down with a brilliant friend, New York Times columnist and author Thomas L. Friedman, to compare notes and discuss some big questions on our minds.
Thomas Friedman and James Manyika in conversation at Google’s Bay View campus.
We had a lot to cover, as it had been a couple of years since our last such in-person conversation due to the pandemic. Much of our discussion focused on AI and how it affects society, but we also discussed what Tom has been observing, how we as a society shape technology, and why we think this moment in time is an inflection point akin to the printing press or the industrial revolution.
To close our conversation, I asked Tom what keeps him optimistic about the future. His answer reinforces my belief that getting technology right is a collective responsibility involving the whole of society — from open, honest conversations like this to better understand the opportunities and challenges, to defining policy, and responsibly creating new and societally-beneficial applications.
I always learn something new when I have these conversations with Tom, and I’m excited to share more insights and dialogues on YouTube soon.