Who’s influencing enterprise AI?

Seth Adler

Experts weigh in on the thinkers and innovators changing the artificial intelligence landscape

Enterprise AI influencers

Like you, we at the AI & Intelligent Automation Network are interested in learning who is truly influencing our industry. And to get a professional opinion on the matter, we’re going directly to AI business leaders.

The first group of executives we’ve asked is our panel of benefactors. You might know that when we first started the network, the benefactors were the first group of artificial intelligence companies to partner with us – so they’re used to being first!

Of course, these are the opinions of the particular executives featured, so each has their own unique perspective. As we’ve explored in our recent podcast series, from banking to beverages, perspective matters when it comes to AI in the business world.

On that very note, I was chatting recently with Nick Andrews, Virtual Operations’ Executive Chairman who has roamed the halls of HP, EY and Accenture. When I asked who influences him in AI, he only had one name in mind: Cliff Justice, KPMG’s US leader of cognitive technology, automation and digital labor initiatives.

When I asked him why Justice was so important, he told me “there are so many in the space that talk the talk but so few that walk the walk” – and while Cliff Justice does talk, he seems to be actually getting things done at the same time.

Next up is Automation Anywhere’s Manish Rai. Manish has a few personalities on his influencer list worth sharing. These include Andrew Ng, founder of the Google Brain Deep Learning project and former Chief Scientist at Baidu; Yuval Noah Harari, author of Homo Deus and Sapients; and Max Tegmark, author of Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Andrew Ng really shouldn’t need an introduction and, along with Baidu and Brain, his place at the apex of the industry can’t really be understated. Meanwhile, Yuval Noah Harari and Max Tegmar are asking critical questions of society and industry in the books they’ve written, so are well worth reading.

Jonathan Hobday of Cortex was not to be outdone. He cited two well-known personalities in Professor Jordan Peterson, “an inspiration psychologist and intellectual philosopher who makes you really think”, and Bill Gates, “who put a computer on every desk and thereby made powerful technology accessible to everyone today”. Despite the former only recently finding a widespread recognition, both Peterson and Gates can be credited with propelling intellectual thought, individualism, endeavor and the ‘power of an idea’ within today’s culture.

Beyond this, Hobday named his old mentor, Professor Kevin Warwick, affectionately referred to as ‘Captain Cyborg’. Warwick’s research has greatly impacted the development and use of direct interfaces between computer systems and the human nervous system, and he gained his strange moniker through his work with ETHICBOTS and RoboLaw, which considered the ethical aspects of robots and cyborgs.

“What’s old is soon to be new again once we collectively get around to discussing AI ethics,” Hobday added.

Last but not least, Hexaware’s Chinmoy Banerjee identified three influencers who mean the most to him: Satya Nadella, Danny Lange and Ray Kurzweil.

Satya Nadella is of course the current CEO of Microsoft (which makes two for our list). But despite Gates’s departure, Nadella has continued to transform the organization.

“We’re investing $5 billion in IoT to help customers in every industry digitally transform with connected solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge,” Nadella tweeted.

And he’s doing this through diversity of thought.

“Inclusive teams that value diverse perspectives and inclusive design principles will have the deepest impact in building products designed for everyone,” he said.

Unity Technology’s Danny Lange was formerly with Uber, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, so there’s a good chance he knows what he’s talking about. Given his resumé, he also seems to get bored easily, a classic trait of many great thinkers.

If Andrew Ng doesn’t need an introduction, Ray Kurzweil doesn’t even need to be mentioned. While he’s an optimist he’s the chief proponent of the singularity. Artificial super intelligence that far surpasses human capacity is a concept that has proponents and detractors. I guess we’ll find out sooner or later which group was right…

Speaking of groups, we’ll keep checking-in with various composites of humanity in the coming weeks to provide a clear picture of who’s influencing enterprise AI, as chosen by the world’s foremost practitioners – so watch this space (or have a bot do it for you).

Are you an influencer? We’re looking for proven AI case-studies – take our survey today.