One of Google’s top executives is opening up his wallet to help groups that are using technology to “solve world problems.” Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is putting up $1 million in grants to as-yet-unnamed recipients that are leveraging tech (specifically mobile phones) to aid in citizen empowerment and to counter the censorship of oppressive governmental regimes.
Schmidt made the announcement during a “CBS This Morning” appearance while promoting his book The New Digital Age. The book was co-authored with Google Ideas founder and director Jared Cohen. Google Ideas calls attention to worldwide issues like counterterrorism, nonproliferation, and citizen empowerment.
Schmidt will announce where the grant money is going on March 10, and has been traveling with Cohen to more than 40 countries to see how technology is being used, particularly in areas like the Ukraine and Venezuela, to counter government censorship. The book itself lays out a futurist view of how technology and diplomacy will intersect, and the challenges this will pose for all types of governments, as well as the power that will be in the hands of ordinary citizens.
“As billions of people come online, most of the people are coming online in parts of the world that have autocratic governments,” Cohen said on CBS. “And they’re going to be the largest demographic in the world armed with mobile devices.”
You can see the CBS appearance in the video below.