AI evolves quicker than most industries. Spend one day offline, and you might miss a crucial development. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, get valuable industry tips, and more — this article is for you. We’ve prepared a list of our favorite influencers to watch in 2021.
We’re sure you’ll find someone you want to follow.
At the top of our list is one of the top-5 business influencers worldwide – Bernard Marr.
Bernard is a futurist and thought leader in business and technology. He’s also the author of best-selling books in the field of AI:
- Artificial Intelligence In Practice: How 50 Successful Companies Used Artificial Intelligence To Solve Problems,
- The Intelligence Revolution: Transforming Your Business With AI,
- Big Data: Using SMART Big Data, Analytics And Metrics To Make Better Decisions And Improve Performance,
- Big Data In Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data To Deliver Extraordinary Results
- and many others.
Beyond books, Bernard writes a regular column for Forbes magazine. His latest article is The Biggest Wearable Technology Trends In 2021. He also runs his own YouTube channel, where he explains basic concepts of AI, shows how to use them, and talks through technological trends for the coming years.
The next person on the list is one of the most important women in AI, Dr Fei-Fei Li. She’s regarded as “one of the top minds” in artificial intelligence. And her career revolves around academia.
She’s the inaugural Sequoia Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University. But she works outside faculty as well, having co-founded AI4ALL, a non-profit organization intent on boosting diversity and inclusion in AI education, research, development, and policy.
She was the leading scientist and co-creator of ImageNet, a visual object recognition database. And her research expertise spans AI, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and cognitive neuroscience.
Dr Li has also written more than 100 articles and books, among others, Crowdsourcing in Computer Vision.
No matter where you’re at in your AI journey, Andrew Ng’s courses are a dream for many data scientists, programmers, and enthusiasts.
But don’t worry: you don’t need to be a Stanford student to access them (where Andrew works as Professor of Computer Science). You can take his courses online using Coursera. Haven’t you heard about Coursera?
It’s the world’s largest MOOC platform offering high-quality online courses, which Dr Ng uses to teach millions of students about machine learning, robotics, and related fields (including deep learning: his biggest passion).
To find out more about deep learning, check this Dlabs.AI resource.
Ronald van Loon
Ronald’s YouTube channel is all about data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and related technologies. It’s an excellent resource for entrepreneurs looking to make their businesses more ‘intelligent.’ Ronald also advises many companies and often shares videos on how to use AI and data science in organizations.
He’s recognized as a Top-10 Global Influencer in IoT, Data Science, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Kirk Borne has a vast knowledge of AI. If you’d like proof, just take a look at his background — Kirk is:
- Principal Data Scientist & Data Science Fellow
- Executive Advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton
- Professor of Astrophysics and Computational Science in the George Mason University School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences
- Fellow of the American Astronomical Society
As if that isn’t enough, he has supported NASA projects for almost twenty years. He’s also active on social media and has consistently been named among the top worldwide social influencers in big data, data science, and AI.
Andrej Karpathy is a man of great fortune: as a student at Stanford University, he fell under the supervision of the great Dr Fei-Fei Li from earlier in this list.
He used to be the Director of AI and Autopilot Vision at Tesla, so it’s perhaps not surprising that Andrej was named one of MIT Technology Review’s ‘Innovators Under 35’ in 2020. Like other influencers, he frequently speaks about many AI topics.
You can see many of his videos on his website.
To find out more about autopilot technology, read our article on self-driving cars.
Do you use Facebook? We’re pretty sure most people will answer, ‘Yes.’ That’s not to say the next person on this list is Mark Zuckerberg. We think it’s someone even more interesting: Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist at Facebook.
Yann is a computer scientist working primarily in machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics, and computational neuroscience. His job is to ensure the behemoth social media platform works as expected, so you know he’s one of the best in his field.
He’s also known as one of three “Godfathers of AI” and “Godfathers of Deep Learning” (next to Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio). Yann himself is a founding father of convolutional networks and one of the DjVu image compression technology’s leading creators.
For more information about DjVu, check this page on Yann’s website.
The next woman on our list is Kate Crawford, who’s also had an impressive career to-date. Kate has held positions as:
- Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research
- Co-founder and Director of Research at the AI Now Institute at NYU
- Visiting Professor at MIT
She’s a published author as well. And if there’s one book to check out, it’s her latest one: Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence.
In the book, Kate discusses how huge an impact AI has on us, our society, and our economies. She also talks through what it takes to build artificial intelligence, alongside where it can go wrong (for example, if technology companies use AI to reshape the world).
Besides her books, she has research published in many journals — while she’s very active on Twitter, which she uses to share absorbing content.
If you’re interested in machine learning, deep learning, or widely-used artificial intelligence, you may well have heard of Oriol Vinyals.
He’s a Principal Scientist at Google DeepMind and Team Lead of the Deep Learning group. He focuses his efforts on understanding and developing new ideas around machine learning, neural networks, and reinforcement learning.
Now, it’s hard to believe that his interest in AI started through playing video games. But you can find out more in his review for Lex Fridman.
Geoffrey is a cognitive psychologist and computer scientist. And as we mentioned earlier, he’s also one of three “Godfathers of AI” and “Godfathers of Deep Learning” (next to Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun).
Since 2013, he’s been dividing his time between working for Google and the University of Toronto. He also co-founded (and became the Chief Scientific Advisor of) the Vector Institute, which focuses on AI research in support of economic growth in Canada.
If that sounds like a lot, he still finds some time to write articles. But before you dive into them, be sure to read his book, Neural network architectures for artificial intelligence: it’s mandatory reading for all interested in neural network architecture.
Geoffrey is the assumed authority of the deep learning community, and we recommend watching “The Deep Learning Revolution” lecture he gave in 2019.
Allie K. Miller
Allie Miller is one of the youngest influencers on our list. But that’s not to say she lacks experience. She’s Global Head of Machine Learning Business Development for Startups and Venture Capital at Amazon, advancing AI companies worldwide.
But that’s not even her biggest achievement: she’s the youngest-ever woman to build an artificial intelligence product at IBM. She was also named LinkedIn’s ‘Top Voice for Technology’ in 2019 and 2020, while Forbes and AI Summit called her 2019’s “AI Innovator of the Year.”
Allie also runs her own YouTube channel, where you can find videos on ML and data science.
Hilary Mason is the Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners and Co-Founder of Hidden Door Co, an online gaming platform for kids to discover, play, and create stories with AI.
Previously, she was the Chief Scientist at Bitly (yes, that’s the same Bitly you use to shorten your URLs). She also speaks worldwide about data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (her keynote on ‘The Future of AI and Machine Learning’ is one you’ll want to check out).
Hilary describes herself as a ‘flesh-and-blood New Yorker’ with a huge love for cheeseburgers.
Aleksandra is the Vice-Rector responsible for International Cooperation and ESR, and an Associate Professor, at Kozminski University, Warsaw. She’s also an AIER Visiting Research Fellow, a former MIT Research Fellow, and a future Harvard Senior Research Fellow.
She was a consultant for the European Parliament in the field of future AI regulation, a member of the European AI Alliance, and an expert on the strategy for implementing artificial intelligence in Poland at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
Alongside her academic experience, Aleksandra has been a frequent keynote speaker, where she shares her passion for AI. She’s held her own TEDx talks. She’s authored several books and articles published across international media. And since September 2020, she’s hosted a segment on newonce.radio.
Shemmy Majewski is co-founder and CEO of DLabs.AI, a company that uses AI and machine learning to help businesses improve workflows, drive efficiencies, and unlock new business models.
Shemmy learned he had diabetes at an early age, with the discovery shaping his career. It led him to co-found DiabetesLab, with the aim of helping people monitor and manage diabetes using artificial intelligence. This soon evolved into DLabs, and Shemmy and his team now use algorithms to tackle everyday business problems.
You can read Shemmy’s insights on the DLabs blog and websites like Towards Data Science — while he’s very active on LinkedIn, sharing knowledge, tips, and tidbits from the world of AI. Shemmy also writes a monthly LinkedIn newsletter, Bits and Bytes, covering the latest industry news in a bite-sized format.
Shemmy recently began exploring webinars; you can catch the first one here.
Andy is a digital strategist and advisor for start-ups and big businesses. His area of expertise is AI and digital transformation, having co-founded the award-winning SwissCognitive and the CognitiveValley Foundation.
He’s a member of several IT and ICT boards in Switzerland. And he’s a lecturer and member of the Strategic Advisory Board at Bern University of Applied Sciences — while he often shares his expertise with the world as a keynote speaker on the global stage.
In 2020, Andy was named ‘Top 100 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers 2020’ and, in 2021, ‘One of the 100 most influential people in AI worldwide.’
Maria Luciana Axente
Maria currently works at PwC UK, taking care of ethical and responsible AI. She inherited her passion for technology and science from her mother, a maths teacher, but she’s more than a technologist.
She has extensive business experience, which she’s now harnessing in her client-focused consulting work. At the same time, she’s a guest lecturer at several universities and an advisor to several organizations worldwide.
She’s won awards for being an AI ethics expert. And she was nominated as one of the ‘100 Women in Tech,’ one of ‘100+ Brilliant Women in AI & Ethics’ 2019 and 2020, and for ComputerWeekly’s ‘Most Influential Women in UK IT 2021 Rising Star.’
Rachel is a professor of practice at the Queensland University of Technology, co-founder of Fast.ai, and founding director of the Center for Applied Data Ethics (CADE) at the University of San Francisco.
She’s also a keynote speaker at many conferences, including ODSC West 2019, SciPy 2019, Stanford Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, the Imaging Symposium 2020, among several others — and she’s a TEDx speaker, delivering talks to audiences of thousands.
Many would say her writing acumen matches her scientific ability, with papers published in Deep Learning for Coders with Fastai and PyTorch: AI Applications Without a Ph.D. and 97 Things About Ethics Everyone in Data Science Should Know.
I’m sure we’ve missed some important personalities from the industry, so tell us: which AI influencers do you follow? If you think there’s someone we could add to the list, let us know.
We’d love for the list to keep growing.