The former CEO of Google has predicted that the US and China will operate huge supercomputers running advanced artificial intelligence workloads at military bases.

In an interview with Noema, Eric Schmidt pontificated at length about how governments will regulate AI and seek to control the data centers that run them. Since leaving Google, Schmidt has been heavily involved with the US military-industrial complex.

"Eventually, in both the US and China, I suspect there will be a small number of extremely powerful computers with the capability for autonomous invention that will exceed what we want to give either to our own citizens without permission or to our competitors," Schmidt said.

"They will be housed in an army base, powered by some nuclear power source and surrounded by barbed wire and machine guns. It makes sense to me that there will be a few of those amid lots of other systems that are far less powerful and more broadly available."

He added: "If you’re doing powerful training, there needs to be some agreements around safety. In biology, there’s a broadly accepted set of threat layers, Biosafety levels 1 to 4, for containment of contagion. That makes perfect sense because these things are dangerous."

Schmidt was chair of the US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and has served on the Defense Innovation Board. He has invested heavily in defense startups, including military contractor Rebellion Defense, and continues to hold billions in Alphabet shares.

The US military and intelligence services have approached large language models and generative AI with caution, due to its habit of hallucinating information, and the challenges of handling classified information.

Earlier this year, Microsoft confirmed that it had deployed an air-gapped generative AI model for US intelligence agencies by overhauling one of its AI data centers in Iowa.