Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is leading a new tech venture called White Stork, which is focused on developing kamikaze AI drones powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The project aims to provide Ukraine with advanced drone technology to aid in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
Schmidt’s Background and Vision
Eric Schmidt, an industry veteran who previously headed the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence after leaving Google, has long been an advocate for the transformative power of AI in warfare. The commission released a report in 2021 stating that AI will revolutionize the way wars are fought in all domains. Schmidt appears to be capitalizing on this vision through the White Stork project.
The White Stork Drone
White Stork is reportedly a low-cost drone, valued at approximately $400 each, and is equipped with a small number of explosives. Schmidt mentioned these AI drones in a column he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in July, highlighting their affordability and potential military significance. He referred to them as “the most important” weapon against Russia. This aligns with the United States’ shift away from traditional arms manufacturers like Palantir.
Speculation and Opaqueness
Schmidt’s recent article, in which he claimed that Ukraine is losing the drone war and predicted their reliance on millions of imported drones by 2024, has further fueled speculation about his potentially self-serving interests. Additionally, the fact that White Stork operates through shell companies, with one listing Schmidt as a beneficiary and another (Volya Robotics OÜ) being solely controlled by a family office employee, adds to the project’s opaqueness and raises questions about its true intentions.
Tech Veterans Involved
Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder of Google’s X research lab, is among the tech veterans who have been recruited to work on the White Stork project. Their expertise and involvement in the project bring additional credibility and potential impact to the development of AI-powered weaponry and its role in the Ukrainian conflict.
It remains to be seen how White Stork’s kamikaze drones and the broader implementation of AI-powered weaponry will shape the future of warfare and the outcome of the Ukrainian conflict. As the project continues to unfold, it will undoubtedly attract attention and scrutiny from both the tech and military communities.