I don’t watch Stephen Colbert. I don’t think he’s funny. Even more than that, I have no patience for senseless political banter. But in some strange way, in this clip, Colbert pulls off the best interview of Eric Schmidt I’ve ever seen.
Most interviews with Schmidt are boring, take far too long, and venture off into ethereal technological discussions that aren’t interesting or relevant to users. But this is funny, honest, revealing, and short. Excellent job. Colbert even lobs some challenging questions that are serious enough to warrant inquiry—take for example, his asking why it took Google four years to decide that they “didn’t like their [China’s] laws.” That’s a great question, and one I haven’t heard asked before. Data mining, search privacy and history, freedom of information, human nature, algorithms and artificial intelligence are also discussed. These are important discussions that we (as users) may not realize, but they affect us all in one way or another if we’re participating in the online community.