And the former tech executive says that the special age for identifying world-class talent is 16.
The Billionaire’s Schmidt Futures organisation has teamed with British educational charity the Rhodes Trust to launch the Rise scheme.
He says their aim is to support group members “through life” to use their talents to build a better world.
“The question was, what’s the lowest age at which we can get a signal for excellence? And all of the anecdotal claims are it’s around 16,” Mr Schmidt told Time.
“We’ll see if it’s true or not, but the claim is that you can tell through a series of tests and challenges and so forth who the really exceptional people will be.
“And exceptional here doesn’t mean just math, it means sort of creativity, verbal skills, sort of the kind of skills that are correlative with great impact.
“There’s lots of people who believe that the signal below 15 or 16 is unreliable. There’s lots of 12-year-olds who are super impressive, but the consensus is that it’s 16.”
Rise is currently working its way through applications and the first class of 100 will be announced in July 2021.
Mr Schmidt claimed it is urgent to quickly get the next generation in charge of world affairs.
“The sooner we can get the next generation in charge, given all the errors we have made, the better,” said Mr Schmidt.
“They are generally smarter, more optimistic, they have more energy. There’s a lot of reasons to turn this thing over to them.”
And he told parents they should not worry if their two-year-old child was showing signs of exceptionalism or not.
“We’re now in a situation where parents are in combat for their children,” he added.
“There’s lots of evidence that children grow up just fine on their own, but the reason Rise is interesting is that there’s plenty of talent programs, but there’s no global one.”