Ex-Google CEO Is Building AI-Powered Attack Drones

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is making the shift to artificial intelligence — by funding a startup focused on developing AI-powered attack drones. 

Initially known as Swift Beat Holdings and part of Volya Robotics OÜ, the company was quietly rebranded as White Stork in August, according to Forbes. Its objective is to create low-cost, mass-producible drones capable of independent operation in environments where communication and GPS are compromised. 

These drones will use AI to identify and engage targets. Schmidt’s involvement in this project contrasts with the general apprehension in the tech industry about AI in weaponry, given the potential for incorrect lethal decisions.

Schmidt has publicly advocated for the use of drones in warfare. In a 2022 Wall Street Journal op-ed, he commended Ukraine’s use of drones against Russia, and said that the most important of its innovation is the kamikaze drone. “In the hands of a skilled operator with several months of training, these drones fly so fast they are nearly impossible to shoot down,” he wrote. 

At the time, however, he had not disclosed his plans to develop such technology. And he is, as recently as Monday, still writing about Ukraine, Russia, and drones. Forbes notes the covertness of White Stork’s operations, saying the company was set up “in the US and Ukraine within a nesting doll of LLCs that have helped to conceal its operations and team members.”

Information for this story was found via Forbes, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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