Google's Eric Schmidt, Box CEO Aaron Levie discuss future of cloud computing

At Box's second annual developer day, the cloud wunderkind kicks off the event with one of tech's stalwart executives.

SAN FRANCISCO---Machine learning is the next rage in cloud computing. Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and IBM have all revealed their initial projects using big data for more intelligent predictions.

Perhaps it was appropriate that deep data learning was the discussion topic du jour during a fireside chat between Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Box CEO Aaron Levie on Wednesday morning.

"This is our chance to talk about the future of our platform," said Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie. "It's also the chance to learn best practices from people who have been through this."

Speaking at the second annual Box Dev Day, Schmidt opined the majority of the industries that pre-dated the consumer world were built because enterprises had sophisticated customers and problems that could be solved in real-time.

In Google Images, for example, you can train an image of a person or object as a classifier for automated tagging in the future.

That's a basic consumer tech example, but enterprise and IT priorities -- notably security -- inspired most of the agenda.

Spinning the talk toward a more politically-fueled discussion, Schmidt, who has been outspoken in the past in support of a more open Internet, once again defended against any alliances or back doors made available to the federal government.

"No one gave us a heads up," Schmidt asserted regarding the revelations about the National Security Agency's data-mining programs, promising Google "embarked on a program to fully secure data" that customers entrust with the Internet giant -- both at rest and in transit. Schmidt gave credit to other tech giants, naming Apple in particular, for launching similar programs.

Schmidt cited complaints made by government officials as "proof" that they were snooping and that Google wasn't complicit.

"Athough they don't admit they were guilty, they complain they have to work harder," Schmidt said about user account and data requests made by federal agencies.

The argument on the tech side is we can give you better data to better protect consumers, Levie added.

The Internet has flourished because it's largely unregulated, Schmidt stressed, arguing that virtually all job creation in America is coming from "gazelles," which he basically defined as fast growing startups. Many of those new businesses are "software-powered", he continued.

Schmidt admitted that regulation is necessary to some extent, following up that it is important for Silicon Valley to remain on the "innovative" side of things.

And one of the biggest spaces ripe for innovation these days is machine learning and smart technology. While jokes were made about self-driving cars, Levie hinted at Google's increasing investment in robotics and drones especially.

"We try to do things that are likely to produce big returns in five to ten years that solve some specific program," Schmidt replied, suggesting machine learning -- specifically automation and the use of artificial intelligence -- is more productive.