Artificial Intelligence has made its way to all corners of the globe. Countries that have never been a part of such ventures before have been showing great enthusiasm and are dipping their toes in the field. There is a global race going on AI development and America has been at the top for a long time. However, this might soon change.
At a tech summit organized by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) on Wednesday, Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO expressed his views to the audience that China is right on the heels of the US and it won’t be long before they are ahead. According to Schmidt, China could very well be ahead in the next 5 years.
“Trust me, these Chinese people are good,” Schmidt pointed out. China has previously laid out plans to become the world leader in AI by 2030, as outlined in a government policy released in July of this year. “They are going to use this technology for both commercial and military objectives, with all sorts of implications,” The Verge reports.
Schmidt has had his fair share of experience in the field of AI, thanks to Alphabet subsidiary DeepMind. The former Google CEO also knows the enthusiasm China has for AI as they invited DeepMind to participate in the historic Future of Go summit earlier this year, with the goal of further understanding AlphaGo’s problem-solving capabilities.
Schmidt is convinced that the lack of clear policies is the reason the US is suffering to maintain the leadership role in AI. The restrictive immigration policies are restricting great minds to put their talents to use. “Some of the very best people are in countries that we won’t let into America. Would you rather have them building AI somewhere else, or rather have them here?” Schmidt said, according to The Verge. “Iran produces some of the top computer scientists in the world, and I want them here. To be clear, I want them working for Alphabet and Google!”
Schmidt firmly believes that they need to get their act together as a country if they wish to continue the leadership role. He believes a strong AI development policy is more important than regulation policies. He added a blunt statement, “Weren’t we the ones that invented this stuff? Weren’t we the ones that were going to go exploit the benefits of all this technology for betterment and American exceptionalism, in our own arrogant view.”