While many were unsure as to why Google CEO Eric Schmidt went to North Korea, he confirmed on his Google+ page that he was there to discuss the possibility of free and open Internet. He wrote, "As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth. It will make it harder for them to catch up economically."
He brought his daughter 19-year-old Sophie with him, who was allowed to take photographs on the trip. She added them to her Picasa page, adding notes from the experience on Google Sites. Regarding the photographs of people working on computers, she writes:
"Looks great, right? All this activity, all those monitors. Probably 90 desks in the room, all manned, with an identical scene one floor up.
One problem: No one was actually doing anything. A few scrolled or clicked, but the rest just stared. More disturbing: when our group walked in–a noisy bunch, with media in tow–not one of them looked up from their desks. Not a head turn, no eye contact, no reaction to stimuli. They might as well have been figurines."
In all, she says,
"Our trip was a mixture of highly staged encounters, tightly-orchestrated viewings and what seemed like genuine human moments."
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