In today’s world of artificial intelligence, some are working extremely hard to push the envelope and create the advanced world we live in. These influencers are contributing greatly to technology innovation, with incredible brains to see something and imagine what it could be instead of just settling on our current state of being. Some of the names on this list are still working, while others have retired but their impact lives on. Furthermore, this list is extremely small, with many more AI influencers to be added, and in many different subjects and directions.
1. Elon Musk
Elon Musk is considered by many to be a Rockstar and visionary, also contributing to the world of Artificial Intelligence world. As the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, he is envisioning our first colonies on Mars and beyond. He is also the leader of the non-profit AI research company OpenAI, which aims to advance artificial intelligence in a way that helps mankind without getting any help in return, as well oversee AI ethics and as avoid the potential threats of AI.
On progressing toward the future, he says: “I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.”
2. Andrew Ng
Andrew Ng was the largest part of Baidu, an AI company that has its toes in almost every part of AI, including speech, NLP, computer vision, machine learning, and knowledge graphing. This company has converted many major companies over to using artificially intelligent machines, allowing them to do more research on how it can be effectively used, monitored, and challenged. While Andrew is no longer a part of Baidu, the future looks bright as he prepares to move forward with new projects.
As for moving forward, he believes, “No one knows what the right algorithm is, but it gives us hope that if we can discover some crude approximation of whatever this algorithm is and implement it on a computer, that can help us make a lot of progress.”
3. Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun is a computer scientist and a neuronetologist who has helped shape machine learning, mobile robotics, and computer vision from the beginning. His vision has made him a “Founding Father of Convolutional Nets” where he works on optical character recognition, a key part of the AI world. For years, much of the language we will use will come from this man.
During an AI Lunch, Yann showed his sense of humor, “A picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures and a demo a thousand videos. So we’re up to, um, ten to the nine.”
4. Bill Gates
While many people now think of him only as one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates should be known for his contributions to the computer world and how without him, we may still be in the dark ages. He is the co-founder of Microsoft and has pushed technology forward every single day of his life. Still, he is one of the few technological influencers that is very open minded about both the dangers and the possibilities of artificial intelligence: “Even in the next 10 problems like vision and speech understanding and translation will be very good,” he wrote. “Mechanical robot tasks like picking fruit or moving a hospital patient will be solved. Once computers/robots get to a level of capability where seeing and moving is easy for them then they will be used very extensively.”
5. Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil is a computer scientist and a futurist. He has been at the forefront of working with things like “optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments.” His books range from topics on AI to healthy living, making him an extremely well-known name and face. His work in artificial intelligence is mostly on life’s extension technology and how AI can help us live longer, healthier lives.
On the future: Kurzweil states “I think we are evolving rapidly into one world culture. It’s certainly a one world economy. With billions of people online, I think we’ll appreciate the wisdom in many different traditions as we learn more about them. People were very isolated and didn’t know anything about other religions 100 years ago.”
No matter what happens in the next few years, these names will likely be behind most of the progress we make.