Google Co-Founders on Industry Regulation and Innovation

    Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page gave a great interview to venture capitalist Vinod Khosle at the last annual Khosla Ventures summit, and a video of this interview last week appeared on YouTube, TechCrunch writes .

    The interview touched on very different issues - from machine learning to the changing situation in the labor market, from new opportunities for healthcare technologies to their 16-year history of relations as co-founders. You can watch the entire 42-minute conversation in the video above, there is also a text transcript.

    Of particular interest were their thoughts on the future of healthcare, given Google’s recent steps in this area. At about 29 minutes in the video above, Khosla asks: “Can you imagine Google becoming a medical company? This could be more than a search business or a media business. ”

    Obviously, both Brin and Page are very interested in medicine and health, but they are repelled by current barriers to legal regulation in the United States. Brin replied:

    “I think it’s certainly a bigger business, and we have [products such as] contact lenses that monitor glucose levels ... but overall, healthcare is so heavily regulated, it's just a painful business. This is not how I would like to spend my time. Although we have several health projects, we will deal with them to a certain extent. But I think the regulatory burden in the US is so high that it scares off many entrepreneurs. ”

    Page continued:

    “... I am very enthusiastic about the possibilities of data, including improving health, but this, I think, as Sergey said, is so heavily regulated, it is a difficult area.

    I can give you an example: Imagine if you had the opportunity to search for medical records in the United States, and any medical researcher could do this. Perhaps with the removal of names. And maybe when a medical researcher searches according to your data, you can see what he was looking for and why. I believe that this would save 10,000 lives in the first year, only that. This is almost impossible to do due to the Health Insurance Act. So, I’m afraid that we’ve set ourselves up and deprived of some really great data mining capabilities. ”

    Later, in the 37th minute, Page shared similar thoughts about how complex laws affect the efficiency of governments and corporations:

    “I am afraid that when I look at governments, our interaction with governments ... it becomes rather illogical.
    ... The complexity of the government increases over time. If you just look at all our democracies of the world, the scope of regulation and laws that we have is growing unlimitedly ...

    One thing that I propose, I talked with some state leaders, in fact with the president of South Korea, and I said to her: “Why don't you just limit all the laws and regulations to a certain volume of pages. And when you add one page, you have to remove the other. " And she actually recorded it, that’s cool. I think that otherwise the state will most likely simply collapse under the influence of its own weight, despite good people and good intentions. Just because of this one question of growing complexity. I just don't think that is reasonable.

    When [Google] became a public company, the laws were 60 years old. If we took a random professor of law, locked him in a room and said to rewrite them, something would have come out much better. But we do not. ”

    Given the amount of time they spent thinking about such topics, it will be interesting to see if Brin and Page will change how this all works at the regulatory level in the future.

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