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Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Says AI Is Underhyped, Not Overhyped

In a recent interview with CNBC, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and co-founder of Schmidt Futures, discussed various aspects of artificial intelligence (AI), including the AI arms race, the potential of AI technology, AI disinformation, the fate of TikTok, and the competition between various leading companies specialized for AI. Schmidt emphasized that AI is not over-hyped but rather under-hyped, as the arrival of non-human intelligence is a significant development for the world.

Eric Schmidt Views on AI Arms Race

When asked about the current state of the AI arms race, Eric Schmidt expressed his belief that AI technology is rapidly advancing and that we are on the verge of significant breakthroughs. He mentioned that the scaling laws for AI systems are continuously improving, allowing for more powerful and capable AI models. Schmidt acknowledged the contributions of companies like OpenAI, Microsoft, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Google in pushing the boundaries of AI research and development.

Leadership in AI Development

When assessing global leadership in AI, Schmidt acknowledged OpenAI’s pioneering work, followed by others like Google, Microsoft and now Meta, which recently open-sourced its powerful Llama 3 model. However, he views Nvidia as currently leading the field due to its virtual monopoly on crucial hardware and software infrastructure powering most AI research and applications.

While competitors like AMD and Intel aim to catch up, Nvidia dominates the market. Schmidt also highlighted Amazon’s partnership with Anthropic, an AI safety startup for which he is an investor. Apple remains an independent force to watch, with a focus on ingenious user experiences leveraging advanced technology.

The Potential of AI Technology

Schmidt believes we are on the cusp of general artificial intelligence (AGI), with progress accelerating at an exponential rate. Where experts used to project human-level AI in 20-30 years, now some predict it within the next 5 years. The scaling laws of AI continue pushing boundaries, enabling increasingly intelligent systems without degradation of capabilities.

This emerging general AI will revolutionize fields like healthcare, climate science, materials research, transportation and more. Through advanced reasoning, research, planning and other “agent” functions, AI can help solve humanity’s grand challenges in novel manners. It holds promise for curing diseases, mitigating climate change through optimized resource allocation, and advancing scientific frontiers in new materials. Rather than hype, Schmidt sees the immense potential that is presently underappreciated.

Strategic Partnerships Drive Innovation

Given rapid technological change and regulatory hurdles facing large acquisitions, Schmidt sees strategic partnerships as the optimal approach. Microsoft’s alliance with OpenAI and Google’s involvement with Anthropic showcase this trend. Even smaller firms gain leverage through ties to industry giants eager to stay competitive.

Rather than directly buying competitors, partnerships enable investment and collaboration at massive scales, fueling innovative AI progress. Billions in funding flood startups are developing promising new techniques. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink reportedly received overwhelming interest in supporting its vision of enhanced human-AI symbiosis. Cooperation across sectors will be essential to realizing AI’s huge benefits.

Eric Schmidt Views on TikTok Fate

When asked about the fate of TikTok, Schmidt expressed his support for regulation rather than outright banning or litigation. He acknowledged that the U.S. government has made its decision regarding TikTok and that China has indicated its reluctance to release the code. Schmidt believes that if TikTok survives the legal challenges, it will likely be banned in the United States.

AI Disinformation and its Implications

Discussing the issue of AI disinformation, Eric Schmidt acknowledged the concerns surrounding the manipulation of information by AI systems. He stressed the importance of critical thinking and the need for individuals to be cautious when consuming information generated by AI. Eric Schmidt expressed confidence that society will adapt to these challenges. He also emphasized the potential of AI in solving crucial problems such as cancer, climate change, and advancements in various scientific fields.

Concluding Thoughts

Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s interview with CNBC shed light on AI’s underhyped nature and potential impact on society. Schmidt emphasized the need for regulation, critical thinking, and efficient resource allocation to leverage AI’s power for solving complex problems. While acknowledging the challenges and concerns associated with AI, Schmidt expressed optimism about the future and the positive changes that AI can bring to the world.

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Picture of Faizan Ali Naqvi
Faizan Ali Naqvi

Research is my hobby and I love to learn new skills. I make sure that every piece of content that you read on this blog is easy to understand and fact checked!

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