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Interview with Craig Smith

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Interviews,

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

CEO of Eye on AI

Key Topics:Artificial Intelligence, China, National Security
Location:United States

Craig S. Smith is an American journalist and former executive of The New York Times. Until January, 2000, he wrote for The Wall Street Journal, most notably covering the rise of the religious movement Falun Gong in China. He joined The New York Times as Shanghai bureau chief in 2000 and wrote extensively about the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners in China. He has reported for the Times from more than forty countries and has covered several conflicts, including the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the 2003 war in Iraq and the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war. In 2008, he joined Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li Tzar Kai's financial news venture as executive editor and subsequently became senior vice president of Li's Pacific Century Group. He rejoined The New York Times in late 2011 as China managing director, founding and running the New York Times' first foreign language site, In late 2016 he returned to the U.S. as a writer at large for the Times. He retired from the Times in 2018 and now writes about artificial intelligence for the Times and other publications. He was a special Government employee for the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence until the commission's end in October 2021. He is host of the podcast Eye on AI, which is rated number 3 among AI-related podcasts by Feedspot.

Craig recently featured in Onalytica's Who's Who in AI? report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I spent most of my adult life as a Wall Street Journal and then New York Times correspondent in China and have been deeply involved with artificial intelligence since interviewing Geoff Hinton for a New York Times profile in 2017. Most recently, I’ve worked on the National Security Commission on AI.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

Education, Climate Change, AI, National Security.

Who influences you within these topics?

Senior AI researchers, in particular Geoff Hinton, Yann Lecun, Yoshua Bengio and Richard Sutton, and government officials focused on national security, Most notably Robert O. Work, and, finally, Eric Schmidt.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Lack of visibility. With so many startups offering products or services that are not well understood by their target markets, clear and simple messaging is critical to attracting talent, capital and customers. The problem is compounded by a contraction of available media outlets.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Amazon, Microsoft and Google in basic research, but the field is wide open for startups to claim dominance in new applications of the technology.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

White papers, opeds, webinars, podcasts.

What are your passions outside of work?

Interacting with nature whether gardening, hiking, camping or boating; and animation

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

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