People in AI

Geoffrey E Hinton

Geoffrey E Hinton born December 6, 1947, in Wimbledon, London, is a cognitive psychologist and computer scientist, renown for his work in machine learning, neural networks, AI, cognitive science and object recognition.

Interestingly, Hinton is the great-great-grandson both of logician George Boole, whose work eventually became one of the foundations of modern computer science, and of the surgeon and author James Hinton.

Hinton graduated from King’s College, Cambridge in 1970 with a BA in experimental psychology. He received his Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh in 1978. After five years as a faculty member at Carnegie-Mellon, he became a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and moved to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto where he is now an emeritus distinguished professor. Since 2013 Hinton became a distinguished researcher at Google after his company DNNresearch Inc was acquired.

Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng born in 1976 is a Chinese American computer scientist and AI researcher. Ng was born in the UK, to parents who immigrated from Hong Kong. As a result, he spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and Singapore and graduated from Raffles Institution in Singapore in 1992. In 1997 he earned his undergraduate degree in computer science at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and in 1998 he received his master’s degree from MIT. After finishing his Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of California, Berkeley, he started working at Stanford University.


Some of Ng’s early projects include the Stanford Autonomous Helicopter project and the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Robot (STAIR), that resulted in the creation of the Robot Operating System (ROS), a popular open-source robotics platform. In 2008, he started the Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) program, placing a number of Stanford courses online, for free. One of these courses, Machine Learning, was taught by Ng. In 2011, he led the development of Stanford University’s main Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platform. His work in online education led to the creation of Coursera in 2012, with Ng as the co-founder and co-chairman. In 2014, he announced that he will be stepping away from his daily responsibilities at Coursera, and joined Chinese internet giant Baidu as its VP and chief scientist in charge of deep learning.

Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom, born on March 10, 1973, is known for his research about the risks of developing artificial superintelligence and strategies on how to do so responsibly. Nick was born at Helsingborg, Sweden, and as a teenager, he did not like going to school. He finished his last year of high school learning from home and educated himself in a wide variety of disciplines.

Bostrom holds a BA in philosophy, mathematics, logic, and artificial intelligence from the University of Gothenburg, and master’s degrees in philosophy and physics, and computational neuroscience. He was awarded a Ph.D. in philosophy from the London School of Economics in 2000 and published four books and numerous articles.

In 2005 Bostrom founded the Future of Humanity Institute, tasked with researching the future of mankind. He joined Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Elon Musk and others in signing the Future of Life Institute’s open letter warning about the potential dangers of AI in January 2015. Nick Bostrom is also very active as a consultant and advisor for many governments and organizations.

Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil

Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil, born February 12, 1948, is one of the best-regarded authorities on AI. Kurzweil is a legendary American computer scientist, inventor, author, and futurist. He grew up in the New York borough of Queens and showed an interest in technology at a young age.

In 1968, during his sophomore year at MIT, Kurzweil started a company that used a complex computer program to match high school students with colleges. He took all of the computer programming courses offered at MIT at that time and sold his company for $100,000. Kurzweil obtained his BS in computer science and literature at MIT in 1970.

His later business ventures include Kurzweil Computer Products that created the first omni-font OCR system, Kurzweil Music Systems, Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, and Kurzweil Educational Systems. Kurzweil has also written seven books, and five of them have been national bestsellers.

Kurzweil has received 21 honorary doctorates and honors from three US presidents. He has been described as a “restless genius” and “the ultimate thinking machine” by The Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun is a computer scientist with interests in the fields of machine learning, mobile robotics, and computer vision. Born in 1960 near Paris, France, LeCun received a Diplome d’Ingenieur from the Ecole Superieure d’Ingenieur en Electrotechnique et Electronique (ESIEE), Paris in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in 1987.

In 1988, after a postdoc in Toronto, LeCun started working at the Adaptive Systems Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, where he developed a biologically inspired model of image recognition called Convolutional Neural Networks and applied it to OCR. He moved to AT&T Labs-Research in 1996 as head of the Image Processing Department and worked on the DjVu image compression technology. In 2003, LeCun joined New York University as a Silver Professor of computer science neural science. He became the founding director of the NYU Center for Data Science, and since December 2013, he is the Director of AI Research at Facebook.

Stuart J Russell

Stuart J Russell is a computer scientist who wrote the modern handbook on AI development. Russell was born in 1962 in Portsmouth, England. In 1982, he received his BA with first-class honors in physics from Wadham College, Oxford. Russell received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1986 for his research on inductive and analogical reasoning.

Russell is currently a professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he founded the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence. Stuart J Russell and Peter Norvig authored Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, a book used by over 1,300 universities in 116 countries. It’s widely considered an industry-standard resource in the AI field.

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