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Eric Schmidt Lands at MIT To Help Answer Deep Questions

Eric Schmidt declined to publicly detail his reasons for leaving his high-level position at Google’s parent firm Alphabet in January, but he’s now embarked on a new endeavor: helping to save the world and understand the human and machine minds at MIT.


Schmidt, who had been Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, in December explained he would exit his position as executive chairman at Alphabet because he and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and current Google CEO Sundar Pichai all agreed the time was right.


Now, MIT has announced Schmidt will this spring start a one-year term as a “visiting innovation fellow” charged with advising the recently launched “MIT Intelligence Quest,” an initiative that spans multiple departments at the school.


“The Institute aims to unlock innovations that today’s entrepreneurs have not even begun to dream about,” MIT provost Martin Schmidt said in a statement Feb. 5.


“Eric can help us move those efforts forward: His experience helping turn Google into the company it is today has given him insight of extraordinary power and value.”


Schmidt will work with scholars on the processes required to develop innovative solutions to global problems, and he’ll participate in lectures and other events, along with having “individual sessions with student entrepreneurs,” MIT said.


Here are the very deep questions the MIT Intelligence Quest was created to answer, according to MIT President L. Rafael Reif: “How does human intelligence work, in engineering terms? And how can we use that deep grasp of human intelligence to build wiser and more useful machines, to the benefit of society?”


MIT has questions. Schmidt, perhaps, has some answers.

© 2018 San Jose Mercury News under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.


Image credit: Alphabet Inc., Eric Schmidt, Twitter page; iStock/Artist’s concept.

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