About the Program

The Schmidt Program on Artificial Intelligence, Emerging Technologies, and National Power fosters research and teaching that spans the disciplines of computer science, data science, economics, engineering, history, international relations, law, philosophy, physics, and political science.
The Schmidt Program serves as a hub for scholars and practitioners to work across disciplines on the technological and strategic transformations that are reshaping our world.  It was founded on a recognition that cyberspace is now the backbone of our global commerce, communication and defense systems, and a key aspect of the critical infrastructure that powers our modern civilization. Technologies and information spread nearly instantaneously, while the world economy and supply chains are integrated to a degree unprecedented in history.

Yet despite the immense benefits that have resulted from this global connectivity, significant vulnerabilities persist and threats are on the rise. Competition over strategic technologies and contests for advantage in the “information space” are growing, so far without standard international rules of the road. Moreover, the future likely will prove even more transformative due to advances in artificial intelligence (AI). Machines capable of sophisticated information processing, towards the frontier of autonomy, pose tremendous opportunities for economic growth and societal well-being. But the potential threats also are extraordinary: autonomous weaponry, AI-augmented cyberwarfare, sophisticated disinformation campaigns, and geopolitical instability as nations race to deploy these unpredictable technologies.

The Schmidt Program examines how AI has the potential to alter the fundamental building blocks of world order. A particular focus is whether there exist any parallels between the development of AI and nuclear weapons, and the relationship among technology, strategy, and power in the digital age. In addition, a focus on nanotechnology, quantum science, synthetic biology, hypersonic technologies, and long-term space development equips aspiring policy leaders with the requisite technical fluency to identify and respond to emerging threats.

The program was made possible by a $15.3 million gift from the Schwab Charitable Fund through the generosity of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, and by recommendation of Schmidt Futures. Read more