Ex-Google CEO Speaks at MIT: ‘Diversity and Inclusion Are Good Business'

Current Alphabet Executive Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a low tone of voice. However, his ideas sounded loud and clear in the MIT's Wong Auditorium on Wednesday.

“Diversity and inclusion are really good business," Schmidt said. "It’s good for shareholders.”

Schmidt intervened in a panel at MIT about how technology can close the skills gap. Asked about how much effort tech corporations put into closing the skills gap, Schmidt recognized that there are lots of problems, including “horrific immigration policies,” and the need for education to get reformed.

According to him, corporations need to act to fill the skill gap, especially to advance math skills.

“We have a crisis in our particular industry: the number of people who can do the Artificial Intelligence machine learning work [...] is so small that we have to manufacture more,” Schmidt said. “So what we’ve been doing is taking physicists, who are super super analytical, and educated them.”

A goal that may be desirable, according to Schmidt, is extending coding skills to a more general public than computer scientists.

“What I hope to be true in the next 5 to 10 years is that people with good organizational and analytical skills will be able to program,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt had already been critical of the current immigration policies on several occasions. In a meeting with Google employees in January, he said that the Trump administration is "going to do these evil things as they've done in the immigration area and perhaps some others," CNBC reported.
In 2015, he urged the U.S. Congress to increase the number of H-1B visas, a dual-intent visa that allows highly-qualified foreigners to work for a single company in the U.S., according to CBS San Francisco.

During Schmidt's 10-year tenure as the CEO of Google, the Mountain View giant went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange, bought YouTube and announced both Chrome and the Android smartphone platforms. In April 2011, Schmidt stepped down as CEO in favor of Google co-founder Larry Page and has served as executive chairman since then.

After endorsing "persistence" and "curiosity" as crucial qualities to learn new things, Schmidt pointed out at the MIT panel that every question learners may have is answerable on their phone or laptop. Thanks to Google, of course.

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