Princeton Engineering alumnus and Google CEO Eric Schmidt is always in the news — but of late he seems to be even more in the news than usual. In October, Schmidt spoke at Bloomberg Headquarters about how information is changing the world and about the rise of the “digital native” generation. During the talk (see the Youtube video above) Schmidt makes the fairly astounding prediction that within his lifetime all the world’s population will be able to access all of the world’s information.

Last week, Schmidt — who is a member of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition economic advisory board — spoke with The New York Times about Google, the economy, and why he thinks the government should be investing in clean energy technology. He also denied persistent rumors that he might be appointed the nation’s first chief technology officer.

Like Schmidt, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos — also a Princeton Engineering alum — has been rumored to be on Obama’s short list for a cabinet-level CTO position. But the technoscenti consistently dismiss the idea that either of these titans of Internet commerce would be tempted to take such a position. “As CEO of Google, [Schmidt] already is technology czar of the United States of America,” quipped Jason Young, CEO of Ziff Davis Media, in a recent discussion on crankygeeks.com.

Today’s lead story in The Daily Princetonian points out that Princeton Engineering’s Ed Felten, director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, is yet a third Princetonian who has been cited as having the heavyweight credentials necessary to serve as a national technology czar. Felten told Raymond Brusca of The Prince that such a position would be “hard to say no to on some level.” Felten noted that while the job has not been defined yet by the new administration, the point of this position would be to connect advances in technology to the things that matter to people’s lives, such as health care and the economy.

On Nov. 18, the New America Foundation is hosting a public lecture by Schmidt, who will talk about the intersection between technology and the economy. If you will be in Washington, D.C., and want to attend in person, register here. Otherwise, plan on watching the webcast at 1 p.m. eastern U.S. time.

For more national tech czar speculation see PC World, Obamacto.org, the San Francisco Chronicle, Digital Media Wire, Reuters, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and Businessweek.

 
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