Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Heading Out on a Mission To North Korea

Here's an interesting tale: Google's executive chairman is about to go on a trip. But it's not just "any" trip, and it's hardly a vacation. He's about to travel to the Hermit Kingdom -- a place that's all but impossible to venture to unless you're a highly regarded political figure, or a member of a limited tour group where the guide never lets you out of their site. The destination? North Korea. One of the most disconnected, isolated societies in the world is about to be visited by the executive chairman of a company that excels at providing a near-limitless amount of free information. Culture clash? Indeed.

Eric Schmidt will be riding shotgun alongside New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, on what's being called a "private, humanitarian mission." Further details about the trip aren't being made public, and in fact, the whole thing was evidently supposed to be kept under wraps. As it stands, Schmidt could make the journey as early as this month.

It's not the first time Google and North Korea have had discussions, and certain individuals from the nation actually visited Google's campus in California not too long ago. North Korea's new leader seems to be pushing a new age "industrial revolution," and while it's unclear if he'll eventually open up his nation to the full Google portal, he does seem concerned with encouraging citizens to engage with science and technology. Of course, "open access" to the Internet is probably far, far off, but this sure feels like a step in the right direction for a nation that is doing severe economic damage to itself by remaining so disconnected.