Smartphone users can already petition the government in a "digital public square," said Kundra, now executive vice president for emerging markets at Salesforce.com. In the future, algorithmic regulations will move faster than traditional law-making efforts, he said.
Under the current system, "a set of people get together, they have hearings, they come up with statutes and they assume that the world is going to get fixed," he said. "Imagine a world where you could have algorithmic regulations, where regulations could change based on what's happening on the ground, what's happening in the world."
Schmidt pointed to smartphones as the biggest technology change that will impact the world. There are about 1 billion smartphones in use today, and the number will grow rapidly, he said. Smartphones will have a huge impact in the developing world, he said.
"This is how most people will get education; it's how most people will get entertained," he said, holding up his smartphone. "These are magic, by anyone's definition."
Before the panel discussion, the National Military Family Association announced a mobile app, MyMilitaryLife, designed to help military families navigate issues with children, careers, deployments and other challenges. The app will deliver personalized information to members of military families, association officials said.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.