Google is going to have more staffers than any other company at the annual Bilderberg Group meeting of US and European leaders, which begins on Thursday in the resort town of Telfs-Buchen in Austria.
Eric Schmidt, a longtime member of the Bilderberg set, will be attending this year's shindig, where the cream of society (and whatever else floats to the top) will hold secretive talks about a variety of world issues. But this year he'll be bringing Demis Hassabis, VP of engineering at Google and co-founder of the DeepMind AI system the Chocolate Factory bought last year.
British boffin Hassabis will presumably be a keynote speaker at one of the 14 specified speaking events to be held at the Bilderberg meeting this year. AI will be a hot topic at the conference, as is cybersecurity, and Hassabis will be expected to enlighten the attendees on the current progress and potential of AI.
A third Googler will also be visiting Austria for the conference: Regina Dugan, head of the Chocolate Factory's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group and a former director of the US military's research wing, DARPA.
Other notable techies will be making a pilgrimage to the conference, too. Tech VC player Peter Thiel is attending – which is to be expected, since he's on the Bilderberg steering committee. He'll be joined by Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, and Alex Carp, CEO of Palantir Technologies, which runs data centers for US intelligence and military services.
This is the 61st Bilderberg meeting and it's being conducted with the usual veil of secrecy. The Austrian police have the site locked down, there's a no-fly zone around the conference center, and participants are under strict instructions not to reveal what was discussed.
Under the circumstances, the tin-foil hatters will claim that this semi-secret confab is yet more proof that a secret cabal of world leaders is running society, possibly under the control of shape-shifting lizards, the Bavarian Illuminati, or the United Nations as part of a plan to bring about One World Government.
In fact, it's more of a chance for world leaders in politics, business, and technology to exchange ideas frankly without having to hold back for fear of being quoted. Lobbying for specific causes undoubtedly is done, but no more than at your basic chamber of commerce meeting or G7 chinwag. ®