The former Google CEO has reinvented himself as the prime liaison between Silicon Valley and the military-industrial complex.
General Thomas, who served in the 1991 gulf war and deployed many times to Afghanistan, spent the better part of a day showing Mr. Schmidt around Special Operations Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Fla. They scrutinized prototypes for a robotic exoskeleton suit and joined operational briefings, which Mr. Schmidt wanted to learn more about because he had recently begun advising the military on technology.
After the visit, as they rode in a Chevy Suburban toward an airport, the conversation turned to a form of artificial intelligence.
“You absolutely suck at machine learning,” Mr. Schmidt told General Thomas, the officer recalled. “If I got under your tent for a day, I could solve most of your problems.” General Thomas said he was so offended that he wanted to throw Mr. Schmidt out of the car, but refrained.
In an interview, Mr. Schmidt — by turns thoughtful, pedagogical and hubristic — said he had embarked on an effort to modernize the U.S. military because it was “stuck in software in the 1980s.”
Yes, Eric Schmidt is an American. But check out his last name. He is thoughtful, meaning intelligent. He is pedagogical, meaning can be pedantic. He is hubristic, meaning arrogant. Schmidt.