Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, was a guest speaker at the Center for a New American Security Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit.
The Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit brought together technology leaders and top policymakers to explore the state of artificial intelligence and discuss the implications of the AI revolution on global security.
Eric Schmidt discussed the future of AI in the context of national security.
We compiled 10 most profound quotes about security and defense issues:
On terrorism and AI
“People would say “well why can’t you figure out terrorism?” Well the good news is terrorism is very rare. Right? So it’s much, much harder, if you will, to apply AI to that problem”.
On military and AI
“A couple of years ago I became the chairman of an external advisory board called the Defense Innovation Board and the idea was to try to get the military up to speed with things which are going outside the military. One of the most important point we made is that the military is not leading in AI”.
On project MAVEN
“MAVEN is interesting because it’s an intelligence application, which is good because it isn’t life safety, you know, in other words it can make a mistake and makes a recommendation. And they train it on open source data, which I think is most interest. So there’s another good example of the military coming up with a new strategy that uses open source data to make their systems smarter and one of the tricks of AI is you need large amounts of training data. And there’s always more open source data than there is secret data”.
On cloud computing for military purposes
“It will help if the military moves to cloud computing for much of its infrastructure. The DOD has just announced a major cloud computing initiative, which they’re very serious about, and I’m told that compared to other initiatives, the DOD is moving very, very quickly compared to many other things they are doing. My view is that it’s not fast enough, but I say that at Google too, so it’s okay”.
On computer vision and error rates
“The reason I picked computer vision is vision is easily understood if we understand its failure modes. It’s also something where people can say “Let me check that. Let me check another source. Let me see. Do I agree that a missile was launched? Can I, the computer says that a missile was launched, let me check over at this other site. Let me see if everything agrees before I do anything. Maybe it’s a false positive.” We understand how to build reliable systems using that kind of error rates”.
On China-U.S. competition in AI and security issues
“I’m assuming that our lead will continue over the next five years, and that China will catch up extremely quickly. So, in five years we’ll kind of be at the same level, possibly. It’s hard to see how China would have passed us in that period, although their rate of improvement is so impressively good”.
“One of the things that is different between cybersecurity and nuclear is that we have the possibility of defending ourselves against it. So before we get focused on how terrible things are, maybe we should fix our cyber systems to become more resilient, starting with upgrading all of those Windows 95 systems that the government uses”.
“We’re not today building superintelligences. We’re building systems that are very good at imprecise pattern matching”.
On China threat in military context
“Let’s say the military is sitting there doing a China analysis, and I’m sure that they do this, wouldn’t it be nice if they had some folks that they trusted that they could call that could really talk about where Chinese research is, where American research is, and where differences may emerge”.
On Alphabet and military
“I can’t suggest Alphabet things inside the military nor would I ever do that. In practice I don’t have as a big concern of this because the military procurement processes and the way it operates are so different from the way the tech community operates”.
We hope that these quotes by Eric Schmidt will be useful and inspire you to explore technology trends, uncertainties, and possible trajectories for how AI may affect global security.
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