A Mix of Technology and Heart

By Erika Mahoney

September 20, 2012 Updated Sep 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When was the last time you used Google? And how many times did you use it in the last 24 hours?

As a keynote speaker to kick off Cornell University's Homecoming weekend, that is exactly what Google Chairman Executive Eric Schmidt asked to start his speech.

But he also challenged the students in the audience -- asking them how they are going to using technology in years ahead to make the world a better place.

He said with an open mind, a lot is possible, and pointed to a number of different "Google" examples.

"People have searched for universal language translation for thousands of years," said Schmidt. "Wars have been started and fought and lost and won over the fact that people can not communicate. In a few years, we just solved that problem."

Students in the audience said there minds were opened, as Schmidt conjured several future ideas.

"Hearing about where he thought the future of technology was going was very interesting," said Tim Roundtree. "Cars that can drive themselves, and how we will look back into the past and think... I can't believe they actually let humans drive cars."

The word "future" was used frequently throughout the speech. But Schmidt made clear that "future" rides on the responsibility of those sitting before him.

"I would argue that each of us, and particularly you, by virtue of the opportunities before you, have that power right in your pockets," said Schmidt.

"He talked a lot about how it is up to us to create the future," said Emilyn Tah. "You know he mentioned that it's no longer us learning from the generation before us, but for them to learn from us. With the opportunities that we have been presented with, growing up in this modernized world, there is so much that we can do and I think that it is really important that we utilize the technology in the right way and tackle a lot of the important issues like poverty, like health issues."

A mix of technology and heart, said Schmidt, will make for a brilliant future.

According to Cornell President David Skorton, Schmidt has just been selected for President Obama's Council of Advisers in Science and Technology.

He will also be joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Qualcomm Founder Irwin Jacobs to be a top adviser for Cornell University's new New York City tech campus, Cornell NYC Tech.