When you are on a quest to have the best sources of knowledge and insight about any topic, social media influencers are far and away one of the best places to start. Following key players within your area of interest is a surefire strategy for getting regular updates on the biggest news and expert opinions on the same. If you have an interest in artificial intelligence and the increasingly connected, data-centric world around us, then our list of the leading AI influencers is a great place to begin…
The World’s Top AI Influencers
Creator of PyTorch and co-author of WGAN and DCGAN research papers, Soumith Chintala is a Researcher at Facebook AI Research, where he works on deep learning, reinforcement learning, generative image models, agents for video games and large-scale high-performance deep learning. Prior to joining Facebook in August 2014, he worked at MuseAmi, where he built deep learning models for music and vision targeted at mobile devices. He holds a Masters in CS from NYU, and spent time in Yann LeCun’s NYU lab building deep learning models for pedestrian detection, natural image OCR, depth-images among others.
Co-Founder of really very awesome upcoming new platform, Molly, Messina’s CV boasts some time at both Uber (Developer Experience Lead) and Google (Open Web Advocate). He is an American technology evangelist who is an advocate for open source and open standards. Messina is best known for proposing the use of the hash character (#) on Twitter as a way of grouping messages.
Zhou is an experienced marketer and technologist who writes about how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation can improve businesses and lives. She is the CMO at TOPBOTS, a leading research and advisory firm in applied AI for enterprises. She guides Fortune 500 companies on AI strategy & implementation. She graduated with honors from Harvard University and received her MBA from Harvard Business School.
PhD astrophysicist, Kirk Borne, is the Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, which offers management and technology consulting to the US government for defence and intelligence.
Andrew Ng is most well known as the former VP & Chief Scientist of Baidu; Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of Coursera; and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. In 2011 he led the development of Stanford University’s main MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform and also taught an online Machine Learning class that was offered to over 100,000 students, leading to the founding of Coursera.
Karpathy is Director of AI at Tesla, currently focused on perception for the Autopilot. Previously, he was a Research Scientist at OpenAI working on Deep Learning in Computer Vision, Generative Modeling and Reinforcement Learning. He received his PhD from Stanford, where he worked with Fei-Fei Li on Convolutional/Recurrent Neural Network architectures and their applications in Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing and their intersection.
Over the course of his PhD, Karpathy squeezed in two internships at Google where he worked on large-scale feature learning over YouTube videos, and in 2015, interned at DeepMind and worked on Deep Reinforcement Learning. Together with Fei-Fei, he designed and taught a new Stanford class on Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition. The class was the first Deep Learning course offering at Stanford.
Oriol Vinyals is a Research Scientist at Google DeepMind, working in Deep Learning. Prior to joining DeepMind, Oriol was part of the Google Brain team. He holds a Ph.D. in EECS from University of California, Berkeley and is a recipient of the 2016 MIT TR35 innovator award. His research has been featured multiple times at the New York Times, BBC, etc., and his articles have been cited over 17000 times.
His academic involvement includes program chair for the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) of 2017, and 2018. He has also been an area chair for many editions of the NIPS and ICML conferences. At DeepMind he continues working on his areas of interest, which include artificial intelligence, with particular emphasis on machine learning, deep learning and reinforcement learning.
Alex Champandard has worked as a senior AI programmer for many years, most notably for Rockstar Games. There he worked the motion technology that powers the R.A.G.E. engine (proprietary middleware used in all Rockstar titles internally, including the animation-intensive Rockstar’s Table Tennis) and was initially involved developing the artificial intelligence and gameplay for Max Payne 3. Alex regularly consults with leading studios in Europe, most recently on the multiplayer bots for Killzone 2 at Guerrilla Games.
With a strong academic background in artificial intelligence, Alex authored the book AI Game Development and often speaks about his research — in particular at the Paris Game AI Conference which he co-organises with his wife Petra. He’s Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games (TCIAIG), is a member of the Program Committee for the Artificial Intelligence in Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) conference, and part of the Organizing Committee of Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG) as Industry Liaison.
Self-confessed obsessive tweeter, Joanna Bryson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing at the University of Bath. She works on Artificial Intelligence, ethics and collaborative cognition.
In 2010 Bryson published her most controversial work, “Robots Should Be Slaves”. She helped the EPSRC to define the Principles of Robotics in 2010. In 2015, she was a Visiting Academic at the University of Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy, where she still remains as an affiliate.
Bryson’s research has appeared in Science and on popular news website, Reddit. She has consulted The Red Cross on autonomous weapons and is a member of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence.
In 2017 she won an Outstanding Achievement award from Cognition X. She regularly appears in national media, talking about human-robot relationships and the ethics of AI.
Dr Lim refers to herself as a ‘robot geek’ – a self-deprecating label that really means massive expert in AI and robotics’. She’s done numerous TEDx talks and previously worked at Softbank Robotics. Her interest in the emotional aspects of AI has led to Dr Lim launching ROSIE (Robots with Social Intelligence and Empathy), her robotics lab at SFU. Lim is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Computing Science at Simon Fraser University, building artificial intelligence software for robots to interact in a smart, but fun, way.
She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Computer Science from Kyoto University, Japan, specializing in AI applied to Robotics, and a B.Sc. in Computing Science (specializing in Artificial Intelligence) from Simon Fraser University in Canada. She is also a writer for the robotics online magazine IEEE Spectrum Automaton.
Her previous work includes: a robot that plays music in a human ensemble, a robot that speaks and gestures with emotion, a robot that recognizes emotion in dynamics, and some exploratory robots for land and sea.
Carl Icahn is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder and controlling shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified conglomerate holding company based in New York City, formerly known as American Real Estate Partners.
He is also Chairman of Federal-Mogul, an American developer, manufacturer and supplier of powertrain components and vehicle safety products. Icahn served as special economic adviser on financial regulation to US President Donald Trump briefly in 2017.
Martin Robbins is a very prolific writer. There’s his popular blog, Raising HAL, lots of articles about data and computer science for The Guardian, editing at The Lay Scientist, a community blog about science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics, plus VICE and Little Atoms, to name but a few.
He achieved a first class degree in Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence before it was cool. It’s no wonder, then, that he is an absolute fountain of knowledge and insight about the connected world, and should be top of your ‘follow’ list for AI influencers.
Cade Metz is a former WIRED senior staff writer covering Google, Facebook, artificial intelligence, bitcoin, data centers, computer chips, programming languages, and other ways the world is changing. Metz is now a leading reporter with The New York Times, where he covers AI and robotics, autonomous vehicles, and other aspects of the fourth industrial revolution.
Martin Ford is a futurist and author focusing on the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on society and the economy. He has written two books on technology. His most recent book, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (2015), (one of our top titles in our list of Best AI Books), was a New York Times bestseller and won the £30,000 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award in 2015.
The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future (2009) also dealt with the effects of automation and the potential for structural unemployment and dramatically increasing inequality. Ford is a great one to follow on Twitter if you’re looking for an influencer who shares really, really good articles on a regular basis.
McCleary is ranked in the top 1% of global social media influencers. She is one of the biggest ambassadors for women in tech, and flies that flag as a hugely successful, engaged personality exploring AI, blockchain, robotics, etc etc. McCleary presents keynotes and workshops on the topics of Conscious Business, Social Influence, Women’s Empowerment, Marketing to Millennials and Women, Women’s Leadership, Diversity, and Social Economics in a Sharing Economy. She is also the Founder, CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thilium.co.
Gene Kogan is an artist and a programmer who is interested in generative systems, computer science, and software for creativity and self-expression. He is a collaborator within numerous open-source software projects, and gives workshops and lectures on topics at the intersection of code and art. Gene initiated ml4a, a free book about machine learning for artists, activists, and citizen scientists, and regularly publishes video lectures, writings, and tutorials to facilitate a greater public understanding of the subject.
Tamir is Head of Data Science at Uber – a title that bears some serious weight! He’s also on the faculty at UC Berkeley, where he trains the next generation of machine learning engineers and data scientists. With over a decade of data science under his belt, working in some of the most highly-regarded and prestigious roles in the industry, Tamir is your go-to guy for when your questions about AI pertain to data.
Have we missed anyone out?
If you can think of a top-notch AI influencer who should be on this list, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with a few details, and I’d be glad to get them added on. In the meantime, happy tweeting!