Eric Schmidt: Israel developing more unicorns

Eric Schmidt Photo: Reuters
Eric Schmidt Photo: Reuters

In Tel Aviv for Google Israel R&D Center's 10th anniversary, the Alphabet chairman said Israel is maturing beyond Startup Nation.

"Israel has matured as the Startup Nation in recent years," said Alphabet, Executive chairman Eric Schmidt last night during a visit to Israel to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of Google Israel's R&D center. Schmidt discussed the contribution of the Google Israel R&D center to Google with its managing director Yossi Matias as well as the future direction of Internet search and the major role it will play in the world pof the future.

Schmidt said, "I'm amazed to see how Israel has matured as the startup nation in the four years since I first visited. I am beginning to see companies that are on their way to being unicorns, in other words worth a billion dollars and they have more sophisticated growth strategies. For a relatively small country, Israel has a super role in global technological innovation. I can't think of a place where you could see this diversity and the collection of initiatives aside from Silicon Valley. That is a pretty strong statement."

Speaking about Google Israel, he said, "This center never ceases to surprise me and is creating advanced technology solutions. And that's logical. Israel has great expertise in analytics and mathematics and these are the specialties required by a company like Google."

Asked by Matias about the future of Internet search, Schmidt said, "There is a general consensus that it will improve in two ways: Firstly by use of machine learning in order to improve the ranking of the search results. Secondly beyond search and what Larry Page, one of Google's founders, calls 'assistance,' or in other words more assistance for users to find exactly what they are looking for, it is hard to know precisely when this improvement will occur but it is reasonable to assume that it will take five years. In other words, the computer will help and advise us just like a regular person does."

When discussing machine learning, Schmidt gave honorable mention to the Israeli company Mobileye which has developed a warning system for cars based on machine learning. "We can say that a car's vision has been completely solved. The next stage is to interpret the data received during the vision process and create the car's intuition just like a real person."

In response to a question about other future fields of development, Schmidt mentioned biology and in particular genetic mapping as a way of preventing disease and developing treatments.

Schmidt is a former Google CEO who currently serves as executive chairman of the parent company Alphabet. He also holds a large portfolio of Israeli startup investments through his venture capital fund Innovation Endeavors.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on June 15, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Eric Schmidt Photo: Reuters
Eric Schmidt Photo: Reuters
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