Eric Schmidt, the current chairman for Alphabet, the parent company of Google has issued a warning for the United States.
While talking at a tech summit Schmidt pointed out that the United States is at risk of lagging behind in the development of artificial intelligence. He stated that the current leadership that the country enjoys will last for ‘over the next five years’ before China takes over the lead.
Schmidt elaborated that China will catch up quickly and will use the new technology for both, military as well as commercial objectives resulting in a number of consequences. According to a report by The Verge, Schmidt was referring to a policy document where China plans to become the global leader in AI and AI-related industry by 2030. The main reason for the caution was the fact that United States is not investing enough in ‘the basic research’ for AI along with increasingly restrictive immigration policy inhibiting of talented individuals that could otherwise come to the country to research on Artificial Intelligence.
To illustrate his point, Schmidt pointed out that ‘Iran produces some of the top computer scientists in the world’ and he would want those scientists to work for Google and Alphabet in extension. He went on to add that DeepMind, an Alphabet subsidiary has ‘a better shot at achieving’ a breakthrough while developing and inventing any general intelligence or AI with ‘human-level’ or ‘superior intelligence’. To his credit, DeepMind is accredited with feats like beating the world Go champion, using AI to ensure more power efficient data centres with an improvement of about 15 percent in two weeks. The interesting thing to note here is that this 15 percent improvement is over the work of world’s best engineers.
He added that the United States needs to ‘get act together as a country’ to develop an AI strategy involving private as well as the government industry. Last but not the least, Schmidt pointed out that ‘Trust me, these Chinese people are good’. Google CEO talked about the regulation of AI also but he thought that it is a ‘side issue’ because of the ‘premature’ debate.