Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ultimate manifestation of the promise of technology to improve our lives. Within our lifetimes AI will become omnipresent across every segment of economic activity and within every field of human endeavour. But AI is not a single genus but a constellation of technologies that must work together in harmony.
By 2030 over 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things and will include new sensor technologies which will capture and create new modalities of data. 5G will be enabling instantaneous processing of this data with a level of efficiency far beyond human capabilities, and robotics technologies will be performing actions chosen only by AI.
Mastering this constellation of artificial intelligence technologies is a rainbow of minds from data scientists to robot builders and AI investors. Together they are pioneering the technologies of the artificial intelligence economy and working toward making the world a better place. Whilst our list is not exhaustive, it shows the diversity of AI pioneers.
Our list of AI influencers that you should be following are, in no particular order, are…
Nick Bostrom is a Swedish born philosopher based at the University of Oxford who has been pioneering the movement to create AI responsibly by focusing on the dangers and ethics behind the design. Born in Sweden, Bostrom has a background in maths, logic, and AI, combined with philosophy, physics, and computational neuroscience. In 2005, Bostrom founded the Future of Humanity Institute to drive the importance of defining AI’s future. He was also one of the signatures on the Future of Life’s open letter which outlined the hazards of AI and was also signed by Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking.
Demis Hassabis is the computer whiz who sold his DeepMind AI lab to Google for £400m. Today Hassabis is recognized as one of the smartest thinkers in the field of AI. He was nicknamed the “superhero of artificial intelligence” by The Guardian thanks to an army of successful companies and achievements behind him, including AlphaGo, Theme Park, the Golden Joystick Awards and, of course, DeepMind. Today DeepMind is turning its attention to applying its algorithms to areas that can benefit humanity, including healthcare and climate change. Hassabis was awarded a CBE in 2018 for his work in AI.
Gary Marcus is the CEO and Founder of Robust.AI and Professor Emeritus at NYU. Marcus is an extraordinary mind working in the machine learning and AI field, with a background in natural and artificial intelligence. He sold his Geometric Intelligence startup to Uber in 2016. Gary Marcus has written bestsellers including ‘The Algebraic Mind: Integrating Connectionism and Cognitive Science’ and ‘Kluge: The Haphazard Construction Of The Human Mind’. Wired magazine described his 2008 trilogy of books as ‘remarkable’.
Tej Kohli is an Indian-born technologist and investor who has pumped $100m of his own money into early-stage AI and robotics ventures whilst simultaneously predicting that AI will add $150 trillion to the global economy within five years. In 2019 The Telegraph profiled Tej Kohli’s plans to improve the standing of the UK on the world stage by backing some of the country’s most innovative AI start-ups. Tej Kohli is a vocal proponent of the promise of omnipresent AI to improve all human life and his not-for-profit Tej Kohli Foundation develops human-improving technologies with a focus on preventing blindness using AI-powered diagnostics tools.
Nathan Benaich is the founder of Air Street Capital where he invests in AI-first technology and life sciences companies that are reshaping the future. Benaich founded London AI, an organization that brings together the best and brightest minds in AI, and also founded The Research and Applied AI Summit. Nathan Benaich also serves as Managing Trustee of The RAAIS Foundation, a UK-registered charity with a mission to advance education and research in artificial intelligence for the common good. Benaich earned a Ph.D. in computational and experimental cancer research at the University of Cambridge.
London-born cognitive psychologist and computer scientist Geoffrey E Hinton is world-renowned for his continuous work on AI and artificial neural networks, which started back in 1978 when he received his PhD in Artificial Intelligence. Today he is a leading figure in the deep learning community. Hinton divides his time between working for Google Brain assisting with the development of AI, and the University of Toronto. Hinton previously founded DNNresearch, an AI company that created voice and image recognition technology, which was acquired by Google in 2013. Hinton received the Turing Award in 2018.
Norwegian born Anita Brede is co-founder and CEO of Iris.ai, an AI research discovery platform. In recent years Anita Brede has positioned herself as one of the most innovative AI creators of our time. Her passion for the democratization of education and connection with science led her to develop Project Aiur – an AI assistant that reads and breaks down scientific knowledge as the world’s very first AI researcher. Named as one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech, Brede has pioneered projects such as bringing solar lighting to Kenya, reducing energy consumption through heat exchanger network optimization, and developing an e-learning tool for Silicon Valley.
Slovakia-born Andrej Karpathy directs AI and Autopilot Vision at Tesla, where his advancements in AI and self-driving technology are world famous: a full build Autopilot neural network involved 48 networks that take 70,000 GPU hours to train. Karpathy earned his PhD at Stanford with an emphasis on deep learning and computer vision. As an academic, Karpathy is also part of OpenAI, where he lends himself as a research scientist. In his spare time, he dedicates himself to providing valuable resources in the opensource community, such as maintaining and developing machine- and deep-learning libraries.
Chinese-born Fei-Fei Li has had a monumental career in the AI world. Currently Fei-Fei Li is the Sequoia Capital Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and co-director of the Stamford Vision and Learning Lab. Li’s work on ImageNet – a computer vision and critical dataset project – led to ground breaking developments in deep learning. During a sabbatical from Stamford between 2017 and 2018 Li joined Google Cloud as its Chief Scientist of AI and machine learning, and focused on democratizing AI technology and lowering the barrier for entrance to businesses and developers. Fei-Fei Li is also the co-founder of AI4ALL, a non-profit education company that seeks to widen access to AI and technology education.
Dr Ben Goertzel is a genius thinker, with a mission to educate the world on AI and the responsibilities that surround it. Goertzel is the CEO and founder of SingularityNET, a project combining artificial intelligence and blockchain to democratize access to artificial intelligence. Goertzel was a Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (formerly the Singularity Institute). He is also chief scientist and chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC; chairman of the OpenCog Foundation; and advisor to Singularity University. Goertzel was the Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, the company that created Sophia the Robot.
Andra Keay is Managing Director and Founder of Silicon Valley Robotics, the leading non-profit robotics cluster that has more than 600 robotics start-ups and represents approximately 50% of global robotics investment activity. Keay is also the founder of an incubator for startups called Robot Launchpad, and a robotics hackerspace called Robot Garden. Kaey regularly gives keynote speeches to discuss the implications of robotic technology in everyday life, appearing on prominent platforms, such as WebSummit and Pioneers Festival. Kaey’s work in AI stems from her MA in Human-Robot Culture.
Angelica Lin jas a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Kyoto University, Japan; and is today Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University. Angelica Lim is an extremely intellectual roboticist specialising in improving robotic interactions by making robots more human and intuitive. Lim works in an interdisciplinary manner combining developmental psychology, machine learning, and neuroscience. She has developed robots that can speak and gesture, play music, and explore terrain and oceans. Her work on developing a cross-modular framework for voice, music, and emotional gesture is considered to be revolutionary in creating life-like robots that can work in the everyday world.
Dag Kittlaus is a serial AI innovator and consumer wireless internet veteran of 10 years in Scandinavia and the US. Curently he is CEO and co-founder of Viv. Previously, he was the Co-founder and CEO of Siri after spinning the technology out of Stanford Research Institute in 2007. After Apple acquired Siri in 2010 Kittlaus became the Director of iPhone Apps at Apple, running the Siri and speech recognition teams. In 2012 Kittlaud co-founded Viv, which aims to open artificial intelligence to the world and enable everyone to talk to everything. With a long history in telecommunications, Kittlaus gives speeches all over the world on the power of conversational software and AI.