Eric Schmidt, who was Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011 and left Alphabet’s board last year, reinvented himself as a technology consultant and investor, according tomedia reports. The New York Times has published a new article about Schmidt’s work after he left his famous company, and if you’re curious about how the former CEO is spending his time now, it’s worth reading.
Mr. Schmidt, who has long advocated the use of technology and artificial intelligence in defense, is advising the U.S. government and investing in companies to achieve that goal. He is now a member of two government advisory committees that promote the Defense Department’s technology applications and invest his personal wealth in military technology start-ups, according to the New York Times.
Mr. Schmidt is pushing ahead with Silicon Valley’s worldview, where advances in software and artificial intelligence are key to solving almost every problem.
He portrays himself as a successful technologist who doesn’t believe in retirement – and now has the time and insight to solve one of America’s toughest problems.
An important area of interest to Schmidt is the use of technology to reduce the monotony of military personnel.
“The way to get to know the army is that soldiers spend a lot of time looking at the screen. And human vision is not as good as computer vision,” he said. “It’s crazy, you let people serve, and we’ve spent a lot of training on these people to do basically monotonous work, it’s crazy. “
Some of his technical solutions are reportedly relatively simple — such as replacing cumbersome whiteboard planning processes with software solutions — while others are more ambitious, clashing with the military’s slow nature.
Mr Schmidt acknowledged that progress had been slow. “My military friends strangely told me that they were making incredible progress, showing you the time frame differences between the world I live in and the one i was in. He said.
Some of these technologies have been controversial. After leaving Google, Schmidt invested in Rebellion Defense, a start-up that analyzes videos taken by drones. There are striking parallels with the Project Maven project, when Google helped the Pentagon develop software that automatically analyzes drone footage. In the face of protests from employees, Google refused to renew its contract.
Mr. Schmidt’s involvement in the advisory board has also been criticized for concerns that his ongoing ties to Alphabet, Google’s parent company, could be a conflict of interest. Although Mr. Schmidt has left the board, he still owns $5.3 billion in Alphabet stock and still technically receives a $1 annual salary from the company as a consultant. Critics say the former CEO may use his influence to recommend Alphabet technology to the organization, but Mr Schmidt says he abides by rules to avoid conflicts of interest.