9 Influential People and Companies Currently Shaping Robotics and AI.

1. Demis Hassabis

Demis Hassabis is an AI programmer, entrepreneur and neuroscientist. In 2010 he co-founded DeepMind Technologies, an AI company that was absorbed by Google in 2014.

DeepMind’s biggest achievement has been the creation of AlphaGo – A program that taught itself how to play the ancient Chinese game Go and beat a human master of the game in 2016.

What’s so amazing about this achievement is that unlike regular computers that process all possible moves in a game to play a human competitor, AlphaGo taught itself how to strategise without the heavy computation of looking at all possible moves, thinking in a way more akin to a human being.

The algorithm is now being taught how to play the classic game Doom. Yep, it’s perfecting its human shooting skills.

2. Boston Dynamic

You've probably seen those videos of robots being bullied, you know the ones where humans shove the robots from place to place with hockey sticks to test their dexterity. The videos that will eventually be used to justify our extermination by the robots. These videos come courtesy of Boston Dynamic.

This company has recently seen itself sold off from its parent company Alphabet to Japanese tech company Softbank.

Boston Dynamic has been an innovator in creating robots that can walk, jump, run and navigate rough terrain with close to human dexterity.

They're also the creators of the robo-dog hell hounds that will eventually in some dystopian future chase us down and tear us apart.

3. Sebastian Thrun

Sebastian Thrun is a computer scientist who could be considered instrumental player in the development of the self-driving car industry. Thrun’s expertise and contribution to robotics has been theoretical. He published a textbook entitled Probabilistic Robotics and has made contributions to mobile robot localization, mapping and control.

Thrun works for Alphabet subsidiary company, Waymo. This company has been making advances not only in making car AI that works but building it in a more cost effective manner for car producers.

In April 2017 Waymo started testing self-driving taxi’s in Phoenix USA. If taxi drivers hate Uber drivers now, just wait 10 years, there won’t be any human drivers to hate at all.

4. Elon Musk

When he’s not kicking back smokin’ big, fat doobs he’s busy being an engineer, business magnate, investor and technologist.

Not only does he want to get us to Mars with SpaceX, he’s a co-founder of Tesla, an electric car company that uses driverless technology.

He’s also the co-founder of Neuralink, a company that plans to insert computer chips into human brains to integrate us with technology.

Finally, he also is a co-founder of OpenAI. This is a company that investigates the safety of various AI technology that is emerging.

5. Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is a computer scientist. He's a cofounder of Coursera, an online learning site. He cofounded and led Google Brain (a team that studies large-scale artificial neural networks) and worked for Chinese company Baidu, a large internet and AI enterprise. This guy has had his finger in a lot of AI pies. He launched and leads AI Fund, an investment fund for backing new AI startups.

6. Jeff Dean

Jeff Dean is a computer scientist and the lead of Google AI, Googles AI division. Nick is at the heart of AI developments at Google and is pushing forward AI technologies for search engine effectiveness.

At the company he has been instrumental in areas relating to advertising, crawling, indexing and query serving systems.

He works on Distbelief, a machine learning system for deep neural networks and TensorFlow, an open-source machine-learning software library.

7. Nick Bostrom

Founder of the Future of Humanity Institute and Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University, Nick Bostrom is a leading voice in considering the dangers and implications of AI development.

With a background in mathematics, logic and AI he has published numerous books and articles and worked as an advisor to governments and organisations about AI technology.

He recently signed an open letter with Elon Musk and other notable technology experts warning of the dangers of AI.

8. iRobot

This company started out with a contract with the US Defense Department DARPA to build a robot that could climb stairs. Nailing that research project the company expanded into building vacuums that clean your floors all by themselves.

The company now claims 88% of the robot vacuum market. The company plans to expand its range into the future with a whole family of robots to do work in your home such as fold clothes and care for the elderly.

The company has a new product out called Terra. Similar to the their Roomba Vacuum, this robot will mow your back yard. Look out Spot.

9. Kai Fu Lee

A prominent business figure in China’s tech scene and has had past involvement with large companies focused on AI such as Apple and Google. This man Kai has his finger on the pulse of where AI tech is going and has a large social media (@kaifulee) following to back his insights.

If you want to know how we will work and live in the future with AI he is touted as the leading expert in this area. Spoiler alert: He recently predicted that AI will put 40% of us out of a job within the next 15 years, bold predictions.

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