Eric Schmidt was "completely wrong" about AI

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google's parent company Alphabet, has admitted he got off on the wrong foot with AI.

Speaking at RSA Conference in San Francisco, Schmidt explained he had reservations about the technology, saying he didn't think it would scale or be general purpose enough to be useful. But, he said he "was proven completely wrong", according to Fortune.

With Alphabet having made an incredible amount of progress in the field, however, with the triumph of AlphaGo being one of its most recent public successes, Schmidt has changed his tune.

While stating that the technology is still in its infancy, he said he now understands its potential to fundamentally change the world.

AI now is able to emulate very complex processes, he said something that he had underestimated but acknowledged that we are still many decades from anything like human intelligence.

Nevertheless, AI has the potential to significantly improve our lives even in its current state.

"Things that bedevil us like traffic accidents and bad diagnoses in the medical system are going to get much better," he said, according to CNBC. "I will stake my reputation that that's going to be the real narrative over the next five years."

As for the development of AI and machine learning, Schmidt said it must be done out in the open, and not left to the military to develop.

Sounding a similar tone to Brad Smith earlier in the week, Schmidt argued that there needs to be some kind of multilateral international agreement not to use AI to weaponise the internet.

Image Credit: LeWeb on Flickr

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.