Former Google Exec Warns Of China’s Tech Advances

Google’s former CEO told Congress there is an urgent need to increase the pace of technology innovation to keep up with China. The threat of China’s swift advancements in technology is “very, very real,” said Eric Schmidt, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, February 24.

His comments come at a time when President Biden is under pressure to take a hard line on China over such issues as national security and its unfair trade practices.

“In the United States, we believe we are one or two years ahead of China, not five or 10,” Schmidt told the US Senate’s Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. He pointed to artificial intelligence (AI), an area where China is aiming to be the leader by 2030.

In particular, facial recognition technology, which is based on AI, is an area where China’s “technology is generations ahead of what is possible in the West, and you can understand why,” he said, as China has a vast surveillance network targeting its own citizens.

He added that a lack of privacy rights could also allow the country to build massive databases that could fuel new advances in fields such as healthcare.

“We need to address these without compromising our core American values,” said Schmidt. He added that the US should set up a Technology Competitiveness Council, which would be led by the vice president.

In addition, Schmidt argued that China is significantly ahead in eCommerce and mobile payments technology.

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