Top 5 takeaways from Eric Schmidt at TechCrunch Beijing

Longxin Zhang

Eric Schmidt of Alphabet – formerly known as Google – gave a presentation at TechCrunch Beijing 2015 on Monday. Schmidt expressed Google’s desire to come back to China and his opinions on automation, deep Learning, education, and mobile competition. AllChinaTech selects five of Schmidt’s most impressive talking points.

I. Google is returning to China

From the time Google “left” China back in 2010 till present, Google has maintained a workforce of 500 employees to serve the area of Greater China including the territories of Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Google’s servers in Hong Kong continue to serve Chinese users.

Schmidt says that Google still hopes to provide more comprehensive services to the Chinese and that’s why Google continues to communicate with the Chinese government.

Some Alphabet businesses will return to China much earlier than others, according to the Wall Street Journal. Google Play Store is expected to return to China faster than even Google Search or Youtube. It is rumored some users are currently able to load Google Maps in China, AllChinaTech attempted to confirm this but has had no such luck.


II. DJI is impressive and Google will expand into automation
Schmidt talked highly of DJI, the Chinese Drone company. He said that the Chinese have invented something really useful for the world with drone technology and DJI.

He added that the sky is the only area where there’s no traffic jams. City infrastructure in Asia can’t keep up with the speed of urbanization. Traffic problems also pose a challenge elsewhere in the world. Schmidt says that’s why using automated products will eventually take over manual deliveries leading into the future.

Google are developing automated products themselves including self driving cars, Project Loon to provide free wifi for emerging markets and their own drone technology. Many things will become automated including drones. Schmidt says computers do a better job at visual recognition than humans do and will replace humans in this capacity eventually. Google’s self driving car is being tested on roads and in the future might even have the capability to fly.

III.Deep Learning will tackle The Tower of Babel
Google and other large tech companies are investing in machine learning. The technology will allow computers to be more knowledgeable than humans. Google are now leading this trend and refer to it with the use of another term, “deep learning”.

Schmidt said than when people use Google Translate, the mechanism behind the screen isn’t a machine searching through a dictionary, deep learning technology is employed instead, to solve translation tasks by algorithm. Deep Learning understands the meaning of words and the structure of a sentence so that it can automatically integrate and translate meaning into other languages.

Google has tested it internally, it can fulfill the basic work of an interpreter while people talk over the phone. The technology will likely be ready in five to 10 years. In about 15 to 20 years, computers will have the same cognitive capacity as humans do.

IV. Globalization can overcome poverty

A century ago, an education revolution in the U.S. gave Americans free high school education. To Schmidt, if China wants to compete with America, and to be creative, the country needs to provide better services and the Chinese need to be able to think more freely. Ultimately, they need to have a better education framework.

Schmidt says Globalization has created an environment for people to learn in different ways and they don’t need to study alone anymore. The biggest achievement for globalization in the past 20 years is two billion people having roared to the middle classes from underprivileged backgrounds. China has more chances to develop than the USA.

V. Huawei has a bigger share than iPhones in China
Schmidt says the iPhone has been very successful in China and it’s the most successful of Apple’s products.

It’s hard to say which will lead the future, because Apple’s rival smartphone makers Xiaomi and Huawei are surpassing Apple in China. Every Chinese smartphone company has its own differentiated advantage, which has lead to a drop in the price of smartphones. Presently Huawei occupies the No. 1 spot in terms of smartphone shipments for the last quarter in the Chinese market.

(Photos from Baidu Image)

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