Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt warned of the dangers of allowing companies such as China and Russia to outpace western countries in the development of artificial intelligence.
The Daily Star reports that during a panel discussing A.I. with Professor Brian Cox during BBC’s Tomorrow’s World Live at London’s Science Museum, former Google CEO and Alphabet Executive Chairman was questioned about the future of artificial intelligence by an audience member. Audience member Seamus Ray asked: “(Vladimir) Putin said last year that whoever wins this race or in facts leads in AI will rule the world. And we also had China saying that by 2024 they want to lead this race. What are your views on that?”
Schmidt replied, “I’m very concerned about this. I think that both the Russian and the Chinese leaders have recognized the value of this, not just for their commercial aspirations, but also their military aspirations.” Schmidt then emphasized that western countries need to keep up with A.I. development saying, “It is very, very important that the incredible engines that exist in Europe, and Britain, wherever, United States etc, get more funding for basic research, ethics and so forth.”
Schmidt stated that he’d like to see western countries unite and pool their learning resources in order to further the development of artificial intelligence, “I’d like us to deal with the Chinese and Russian competition not by copying their approaches, but being more like us, more of the incredible intellects that have been produced here in this country. Think about the tradition of science represented by the Science Museum here and the history… I literally am incredibly in debt to the last 150 years, as you all are of the British scientists.”
Schmidt continued talking about British scientists and inventors saying “Let’s have more of them. Let’s celebrate them. Let’s get as many people to come here from other countries to do the same thing. Let’s outrun them with our own intelligence, rather than any other outcome.” Schmidt is currently staying on Alphabet’s board as a technical advisor but will no longer be involved in the day to day running of the company.
Both Eric Schmidt and Google have notoriously strong links to the Obama presidency and the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign.