Πριν από περίπου τέσσερα χρόνια, ο πρώην διευθύνων σύμβουλος της Google Eric Schmidt διορίστηκε στην Επιτροπή Εθνικής Ασφάλειας για την Τεχνητή Νοημοσύνη (National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence) από τον πρόεδρο της Επιτροπής Ενόπλων Υπηρεσιών της Βουλής των Αντιπροσώπων (House Armed Services Committee). Ήταν μια πολύ ισχυρή θέση.
Congress gave the new group a broad mandate: to advise the US government on how to advance the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies to enhance national security.
The mandate was simple: Congress asked the new body to advise on how to strengthen America's AI competitiveness against its rivals, build the AI workforce of the future, and develop data and ethical principles, according with CNBC.
In short, the committee, of which Schmidt soon became chairman, was tasked with making recommendations on nearly every aspect of a vital, emerging industry.
Of course, the committee did much more under his leadership.
He wrote a bill that later became law and poured billions of taxpayer dollars into the industry to help build it — and one he actively invested in while running the conglomerate.
If you're running a committee that steers the government into AI technology and makes recommendations about how they should promote the field and scientific research you shouldn't be dipping your hand into the candy jar and investing in AI.
His credentials, however, were impeccable, given his deep experience in Silicon Valley, experience advising the Department of Defense and a vast personal fortune estimated at around $20 billion.
Five months after his appointment, few realized that Schmidt had privately invested in a seed round of funding for a startup company called Beacon, which uses artificial intelligence in the supply chain products of companies that manage freight logistics, according to Crunchbase.
There is no indication that Schmidt broke any ethics rules or did anything illegal while chairing the committee.
The panel was, by definition, an external advisory group of industry participants, and its other members included well-known technology executives such as Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, and the Chief Scientific Officer of Microsoft, Dr. Eric Horvitz, among others.
Schmidt's investment was just the first of several other direct investments he made in AI startup companies during his tenure as chairman of the AI committee.
Venture capital firms funded, in part, by Schmidt and his private family foundation also made dozens of additional investments in AI companies during Schmidt's tenure, giving him a financial stake in the industry even as he developed new regulations and encouraged taxpayer funding.” reports CNBC.
“In all, Schmidt and entities connected to him made more than 50 investments in AI companies while he was chairman of the Federal Commission on Artificial Intelligence. His investment information is not publicly available.”
"All of this activity meant that, at the same time that Schmidt was wielding enormous influence over the future of federal AI policy, he was also able to personally benefit from the most promising new AI companies."
Citing people close to Schmidt, the publication says that his investments were disclosed in a private file in the US government at the time, and the public and media did not have access.
A representative for Schmidt told CNBC that he followed all rules and procedures while serving on the committee.