Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Says US Is Ahead Of China In AI By '2-3 Years:' 'We Should Be Very Proud To Be Here'

Zinger Key Points
  • Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt thinks that amid a brewing AI cold war between the U.S. and China, the U.S. is ahead by several years.
  • He also outlined the four factors responsible for China lagging the U.S.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has expressed his belief that the U.S. is significantly ahead of China in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

What Happened: Schmidt, who served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, stated in an interview with Bloomberg that the U.S. is “way ahead of China” in AI.

"In the case of artificial intelligence, we are well ahead, two or three years probably, of China, which in my world is an eternity."

Schmidt, who has been investing in AI companies since he departed from Google, pointed out that the US’s lead in AI is contingent on not squandering it. He also noted that China’s focus on dominating specific industries necessitates the U.S. to compete and emerge victorious.

"I think we’re in pretty good shape."

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The former Google CEO highlighted four factors contributing to China’s lag in the AI race. These include chip shortages, a scarcity of Chinese training data for large language models, a significant decrease in foreign investment, and China’s focus on for-profit application companies rather than platforms.

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Despite China’s focus on for-profit application companies, Schmidt acknowledged that some of the top apps in the U.S. are of Chinese origin. However, he emphasized that the U.S. currently holds the leadership position in this area.

Why It Matters: Schmidt’s comments come amid a growing focus on AI competition between the U.S. and China. In April 2023, Schmidt opposed an AI pause proposed by over 1,000 tech moguls and researchers, arguing that it would benefit China.

A year later, the U.S. and China agreed to hold high-level talks on AI, focusing on potential risks and safety concerns associated with AI.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has been tightening its grip on AI-related exports to China. In April, the U.S. tightened sanctions on chip exports to China, prompting Huawei to incorporate a more advanced version of its made-in-China processor in its new smartphones.

Earlier this month, the U.S. revoked export licenses for Intel and Qualcomm to sell chips to Huawei, further impacting China’s access to AI-related technology.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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