7 AI Thought Leaders & Influencers To Follow In 2023

Paul Kamau
6 min readOct 15, 2022

Recently, AI & Machine Learning has experienced mind blowing breakthroughs which are taking place rapidly so much so that we’re a little numb to it. Cutting edge research across computer science, neuroscience, ethics, engineering, scientific discovery with new methods in protein folding, energy optimization and the development of Artificial general intelligence are just few.

So here’s a list of a few people working in this incredible field and advancing breakthroughs, creating awareness and making AI & ML accessible for everyone. I’ll keep it brief and capture these 4 key stats:

  1. Who are they?
  2. What have they done?
  3. What is the impact of their work?
  4. Where can you find them?

1. Demis Hassabis

DeepMind Founder, Demis Hassabis

Demis Hassabis is the founder of DeepMind, the world’s leading AI research company, with the mission of solving “the problem of intelligence” and then using artificial intelligence “to solve everything else.” He’s a Neuroscientist, pioneering artificial intelligence researcher, award-winning game designer, successful entrepreneur, and a 5-time World Games Champion. 1

In 2016, DeepMind made history when AlphaGo, a reinforcement based computer program, defeated a professional human Go player, becoming the first program to defeat a Go world champion and consequently became the strongest Go player in history. 2

DeepMind has published over 1000 research papers — including more than a dozen in Nature and Science — and achieved breakthrough results in many challenging AI domains from StarCraft II to protein folding. Since 2016, DeepMind has created the following:

  1. AlphaFold (2018): which accurately predicts the 3D models of protein structures and has the potential to accelerate research in every field of biology.
  2. AlphaZero (2016) A single system that taught itself from scratch how to master the games of chess, shogi (Japanese chess), and Go, beating a world-champion program in each case.
  3. AlphaStar (2019): A computer program by DeepMind that plays the video game StarCraft II.
  4. AlphaCode (2022): an AI system that has been trained to “understand” natural language, design algorithms to solve problems, and then implement them into code.
  5. WaveNet creates more natural-sounding speech for products used by millions of people around the world.

Where can you find them?

YouTube: AlphaGo The movie
Twitter: @demishassabis
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/demishassabis/
Site: https://www.deepmind.com/about

2. Cassie Kozyrkov

Cassie Kozyrkov is the Innovator behind the practice of Decision Intelligence at Google with advisory roles to leadership teams on decision process, AI strategy, and building data-driven organizations. She has personally trained over 20,000 Googlers in machine learning, statistics, and data-driven decision-making.

Cassie’s Making Friends With Machine Learning is a condensed ML crash course which not only covers key ML concepts but also provides insights into what decision intelligence looks like practically.

Where can you find them?

YouTube: Making Friends With Machine Learning
Twitter: quaesita
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kozyrkov/
Site: https://kozyrkov.medium.com

3. Jason Brownlee

Jason Brownlee, PhD is the founder of Machine Learning Mastery, a site to enable developers to get started and get good at applied machine learning. He has a Masters and PhD degree in Artificial Intelligence and worked on machine learning systems for defense, startups, and severe weather forecasting.

Jason’s free site, Machine Learning Mastery has been monumental in my own ML journey with straight to the point tutorials, clear explanation of concepts, and providing relevant details to make ML approachable for everyone, especially people with a software developer background.

Where can you find them?

Twitter: @TeachTheMachine
Site: https://machinelearningmastery.com/blog/

4. Moustapha Cissé

Moustapha Cissé is a Research Scientist at Google AI center in Accra, Ghana and the Founder and Director of the African Master of Machine Intelligence at AIMS. He holds a PhD in Machine Learning from Pierre et Marie Curie University, France. He was previously a Research Scientist at Facebook AI.

Founded in 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a Pan-African network of centers of excellence for post-graduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences. The AIMS network has five centers of excellence teaching a Masters in Mathematical Sciences, including a work integrated option with a direct link to industry in three centers. 1 The AIMS network currently has over 2,400 alumni from 44 African countries of which 33% are women.

Where can you find them?

Twitter: @moustapha_6c
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/moustapha-cisse/
Site: https://deeplearningindaba.com/speakers/moustapha-cisse/

5. Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity.

He has over 2 million social media followers, over 1.2 million newsletter subscribers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

I discovered Bernard Marr when reading “Artificial Intelligence in Practice | How 50 successful companies used AI and Machine Learning to Solve problems

In that capacity he has worked with and advised many of the world’s best-known organizations including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, AstraZeneca,The Ministry of Defence, NATO among many others.

Where can you find them?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bernard.marr
Twitter: @BernardMarr
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWstLaT61QUc-TvfxOjNpFw
Site: https://bernardmarr.com

6. Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is one of the most influential ML scholars, computer scientist and technology entrepreneur focusing on machine learning and AI. He is Founder & CEO of DeepLearning.AI, Founder & CEO of Landing AI, General Partner at AI Fund, Chairman and Co-Founder of Coursera and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University’s Computer Science Department.

As a pioneer in machine learning and online education, Dr. Ng has changed countless lives through his work in AI, and has authored or co-authored over 200 research papers in machine learning, robotics and related fields. In 2013, he was named to the Time 100 list of the most influential persons in the world.

In Oct 13th 2022, Andrew Ng delivered a TED talk on How AI Could Empower Any Business in which he shares a vision for democratizing access to AI, empowering any business to make decisions that will increase their profit and productivity. Learn how we could build a richer society — all with just a few self-provided data points.

Where can you find them?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewYNg
Site: https://www.andrewng.org

7. Maria Luciana Axente

Maria is a globally recognized AI ethics expert, a Advisory Board member of the UK Government All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI, member of BSI/ISO & IEEE AI standard groups, a Fellow of the RSA and an advocate for gender diversity in AI, children and youth rights in the age of AI.

In Jan 20th, 2021, Maria delivered a talk on The March Towards Ethical AI in which she talked about How can we trust AI that’s largely unregulated and How can we go about building the firm’s responsible AI toolkit and the methodology for embedding ethics in AI.

Where can you find them?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maria_axente
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariaaxente/

Conclusion

Who are your top 5 AI influencers and thought leaders? What do you like about their work? How can we find them?

Drop it in the comments below and let me know below and also if you have any questions.

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Paul Kamau

TAM @google | I write about tips, tutorials and impact AI & Machine Learning | https://bio.link/paulkamau