- Sergey Brin, a cofounder of Google and president of Google's parent company Alphabet, wrote and published Alphabet's annual Founders Letter on Monday.
- Brin started the letter with a quote taken from Charles Dickens' famous work "A Tale of Two Cities," calling it "a great articulation of the transformative time we live in."
Sergey Brin was responsible for writing Alphabet's Founders Letter this year. Alphabet, for those unfamiliar, is the parent company of Google.
Alphabet's annual Founders Letter is designed to be an update on the state of the company's various businesses, including Google, and a general guide on where it's looking next.
This year, though, Brin kicked off the Founders Letter with a quote taken from the very beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities," a book written over 150 years ago by Charles Dickens — a historical fiction about the French Revolution.
Here's the beginning of Brin's Founders Letter (emphasis ours):
"It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair ..."
So begins Dickens’ "A Tale of Two Cities," and what a great articulation it is of the transformative time we live in. We’re in an era of great inspiration and possibility, but with this opportunity comes the need for tremendous thoughtfulness and responsibility as technology is deeply and irrevocably interwoven into our societies.
This theme of balancing innovation and responsibility was consistent through the Founders Letter. For example, Brin uses part of the letter to describe all the ways in which we're living in a technology renaissance, but then plays devil's advocate in the following paragraph:
"Such powerful tools also bring with them new questions and responsibilities," Brin wrote. "How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?"
The rest of the Founders Letter goes into more detail on Google's work in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, the need for powerful processors, and Alphabet's need to evolve to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. You can read the full Founders Letter from Brin, as well as our analysis on what it all means, right here.