Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt quietly created a company called White Stork, which plans to build AI-powered attack drones, report says

Eric Schmidt side photo of him wearing glasses and a suit with his lips pursed
Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Google until 2011.John Lamparski/Getty Images
  • Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt has reportedly been building a startup called White Stork.

  • New details emerged after Forbes previously reported on the project's existence earlier this month.

  • Schmidt previously told Wired that AI has the potential to revolutionize US military equipment.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is building a military startup called White Stork, which plans to produce AI attack drones, Forbes reported.

New details have emerged about the project, such as its name, since Forbes first reported on it earlier this month. White Stork wants to mass-produce drones that can use AI to identify targets, the new report said.

The latest Forbes story also details how Schmidt has used an intricate business structure through several Limited Liability Companies.

White Stork was an LLC called Swift Beat Holdings but changed its name to White Stork Group last September. Swift Beat is owned by holding company Volya Robotics OÜ, where Schmidt has been the sole beneficial owner since last September, company filings show.

Schmidt was the CEO of Google until 2011 and remained its chairman until 2015. A year later he became the chairman of the Department of Defense's Innovation Board, a position he held for four years, his website shows.

His involvement in AI-powered combat drones may come as no surprise, though, as he also chaired the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence for several years.

Schmidt previously told Wired last February that the US military had been slow to adopt new tech.

The former Google chief told Wired that occasionally, a new weapon comes to market that "changes things" and that AI could help revolutionize the Department of Defense's equipment.

He said in the Wired interview, "Einstein wrote a letter to Roosevelt in the 1930s saying that there is this new technology — nuclear weapons — that could change war, which it clearly did. I would argue that [AI-powered] autonomy and decentralized, distributed systems are that powerful."

Representatives for Schmidt declined to comment.

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