One of the world’s most influential computer executives this week predicted that Israel “will have an oversized impact on the evolution of the next stage of the technology we all use”.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, wrote his comments in an effusive online post after visiting Israel. The country seemed to him “very peaceful, and very much like Silicon Valley”, he commented, mentioning that Google has a large engineering and sales operation there.
The JC can reveal that in top-level meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Schmidt was asked to take Google’s relationship with Israel to the next level. “We discussed possibilities for future co-operation, not just on a level of Google expanding in Israel but in operations from Google benefiting education in Israel,” said Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz.
In his post, Mr Schmidt also shared his thoughts on the reasons for the country’s high-tech success and promise. They are its “long commitment to universities and science”; the fact that businesses have taken advantage of the internet to provide services far from home; and the security situation, which creates a “live for today” attitude, encouraging risk-taking.
Mr Schmidt also suggested that compulsory military service gives Israelis valuable knowledge and experience that they apply in high-tech. “The core areas of computer science now revolve around data analytics, big data, artificial intelligence, and large networks of information,” he wrote. “These are the same areas developed in the intelligence parts of the military.”
Google has struck a deal with French anti-racism groups which have objected to its search engine suggesting users add “Jew” to searches for prominent names. Google would not comment on the specifics of the deal.