This past weekend was graduation weekend at many universities across the United States and as a result, many graduation speeches were made involving advice and words of wisdom for the young people stepping out into the world. Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt made such a speech at the Boston University graduation yesterday. His advice? To divert eyes from computer screens and mobile phones for at least an hour everyday. Schmidt said, “Take one hour a day and turn that thing off. Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person you love. Have a conversation, a real conversation.” Schmidt, himself had received an honorary degree from Boston University and was speaking to students who relied heavily on his company's many services to complete their academic requirements.
Eric Schmidt says we should turn off for an hour everyday
Although challenging students to turn away from their technology for an hour everyday, his broader message was one of embracing tech. He said that electronic tools, like social media are positive forces and that a distinctive feature of this generation's new world is that individuals can be unique while still being completely connected. He said that this feature is the fulfillment of the American dream. Schmidt did not involve any business or policy items in his speech, however he advised the graduating students to reach high and not be afraid to fall. He said that this generation will be armed with technology like no other generation has been before. He said, “If you're awake, you're online, you're connected.” To drive his point home, he said, “Some of you are probably tweeting this speech right now.“
Schmidt, as reflected in his talking points, was not afraid of making broad statements in the same fashion that several other Google executives regularly do. The Google motto is, in fact, “Don't be evil”, and the company itself has fought battles with many governments over Internet freedom. Schmidt's speech, however, does seem balanced in the sense that he talks about how great technology can be and how much it can help young people, while at the same time, infusing a little bit of a reality check in saying that young people need to challenge themselves to disconnect for an hour everyday. Do you take an hour off everyday and talk to another human being in person? Do you think that it's important to do that? Let us know in the comments section below.