Support Marketplace

Change your name to escape Google.

Laptop displays Google logo

Will you have to change your name to escape all the data about you on Google? One person who thinks you might is Eric Schmidt, who just happens to be THE CEO OF GOOGLE. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Schmidt envisioned a day when young adults will change their identities, to get away from their digital pasts.

Wow. The guy who runs Google says Google will know so much that we'll have to hide from that which he helped create? Really?

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," he says. He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites.

Schmidt's statement, which may be off-the-cuff speculation but is still pretty darn provocative, kind of flips technology on its head. Instead of molding our technology around who we are, we would need to re-do who we are in order to get away from who the technology has made us out to be.

What the--?!

We talk with Sherry Turkle about this. She's the director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self and the author of the forthcoming book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.

We also speak with Mary Madden of the Pew Internet and American Life Project who fills us in on the latest data about how young people manage their internet lives. And we talk with Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. He advocates not changing your name but being able to declare reputation bankruptcy.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...