Eric Schmidt warned against China's AI industry. The email shows he also asked for a connection to


In November 2019, the US government's National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), an influential body chaired by former Google CEO and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, warned that China was “pursuing an autocratic agenda”. Using artificial intelligence for.

Newly disclosed emails show that just two months earlier, Schmidt was also exploring potential personal connections to China's AI industry on a trip to Beijing. Separately, tax filings show that a nonprofit private foundation overseen by Schmidt and his wife contributed to a fund that fed into a private equity firm that has invested in several Chinese tech firms, including A.I. .

When NSCAI released its full findings in 2021, Schmidt and the NSCAI vice president said in a statement that “China's plans, resources, and progress should concern all Americans,” and warned that “China's domestic AI The usage is a shocking example for anyone.” around the world who value individual freedom.”

2019 email communications obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a nonprofit research initiative that tracks the impact of the tech industry, show employees of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic enterprise, NSCAI Asks employees to help identify “possibles.” Engagement [Schmidt] In a personal capacity, maybe on AI.” The names have been redacted, but an NSCAI staff member responds, “Sure thing, happy to help.” One person tasked with bringing up “interesting companies in Beijing” Has gone.

It is unclear what meetings in China resulted from the discussions, or whether such meetings could translate into trade deals. However, the messages detail a complex relationship between Schmidt and America's main geopolitical rival. They also reflect the paradox of rivalry and interdependence that characterizes the dynamics between the world's two most powerful countries.

Flight records previously obtained by TTP show that the Gulfstream took off from Google's home hangar in November 2019. A day later, press reports revealed that Schmidt, who was in China for the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, dined with former premier Kai-fu Lee. Google China and a prominent Chinese entrepreneur and investor. The pair told a Bloomberg reporter at the time that they were “just moving in.”

Tax filings for 2019 show that the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, a nonprofit overseen by the billionaire and his wife, invested about $17 million in a fund that The investment went to the firm then called Hillhouse Capital, which invests in a number of companies. Among major Chinese tech and AI companies, among other businesses. In October 2016, Hillhouse reportedly launched an AI investment fund with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a state-run institution. In 2017, Hillhouse led a $55 million funding round in Chinese AI company Yitu, a startup that would soon be repeatedly blacklisted by the US government for supplying facial recognition technology used for surveillance in China .

The final NSCAI report includes a section on promoting “International Digital Democracy” initiatives. It offers some suggestions for “developing, promoting and funding” the digital ecosystem, including partnerships with the private sector – citing Hillhouse as a positive example.