Here is the full transcript of VP & Chief Scientist of Baidu, Andrew Ng’s fireside talk: Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity at Stanford GSB…
Introducing speaker: Good afternoon. Welcome to the future forum, a series of discussions where we are exploring trends that are changing the future. This series is presented by the Sloan Fellows from the Stanford MSX program. My name is RaviKiran Gopalan. I’m an engineer by training, with over ten years of experience. I’ve been fortunate to design and develop products for some of the leading high-tech companies here in the US.
Currently, as a Sloan Fellow, I’m privileged to spend a year in Silicon Valley and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business participating in the evolution of technology and learning from some of the brightest minds in business.
The MSX Program is a full time on-campus one-year management degree specifically designed for accomplished and experienced professionals from around the world. My classmates on average have over 13 years of experience, come from over 40 different industries, and have been leaders in driving change.
Today I have the honor of introducing professor Andrew Ng. Andrew is one of the leading thinkers in artificial intelligence with research focusing on deep learning. He has taught machine learning for over 100,000 students through his online course at Coursera. He founded and led the Google Brain project, which developed massive scale, deep learning algorithms. He’s currently the VP and Chief Scientist of Baidu, the co-chairman and co-founder of Coursera, and last but not least, an adjunct professor right here at Stanford University.
Please join me, and the 2017 Sloan Fellows in welcoming Professor Andrew Ng.
Andrew Ng – VP and Chief Scientist of Baidu
Thank you. Thank you, and thank you, Ravi.
So what I want to do today is talk to you about AI. So as Ravi mentioned, right now I lead a large AI team at Baidu, about 1300 scientists and engineers and so on. So I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of AI applications, a lot of research in AI as well as a lot of users in AI in many industries and many different products.
So as I was preparing for this presentation, I asked myself what I thought would be most useful to you. And what I thought I’d talk about is four things. I want to share with you what I think are the major trends in AI. Because I guess the title of this talk was AI is the New Electricity. Just as electricity transformed industry after industry 100 years ago, I think AI will now do the same. So I share with you some of these exciting AI trends that I and many of my friends are seeing.
I want to discuss with you some of the impact of AI on business. Whether, I guess, to the GSB and to the Sloan Fellows, whether you go on to start your own company after you leave Stanford, or whether you join a large enterprise, I think that there’s a good chance that AI will affect your work. So I’ll share with you some of the trends for that.
And then talk a little bit about the process of working with AI. This is some kind of practical advice for how to think about, not just how it affects businesses, but how AI affects specifically products and how to go about growing those products. And then finally, I think for the sign up of this event, there was a space for some of you to ask some questions and quite a lot of you asked questions about the societal impact of AIs. I’ll talk a little bit about that as well, all right?
So the title of this talk is projected, no, I guess not, all right. I think on the website the title was listed as the AI is the New Electricity. So it’s an analogy that we’ve been making over half a year or something. About 100 years ago, we started to electrify the United States, right, develop electric power. And that transformed transportation. It transformed manufacturing, using electric power instead of steam power. It transformed agriculture, right I think refrigeration was a really, a transformed healthcare and so on and so on.
And I think that AI is now positioned to have an equally large transformation on many industries. The IT industry, which I work in, is already transformed by AI. So today at Baidu, Web search, advertising, all powered by AI. The way we decide whether or not to approve a consumer loan, really that’s AI. When someone orders takeout through the Baidu on-demand food delivery service, AI helps us with the logistics. They route the driver to your door, helps us estimate to tell you how long we think it’ll take to get to your door. So it’s really up and down. Both the major services, many other products in the IT industry are now powered by AI, just literally possible by AI.
But we’re starting to see this transformation of AI technology in other industries as well. So I think FinTech is well on its way to being totally transformed by AI. We’re seeing the beginnings of this in other industries as well. I think logistics is halfway through its transformation. I think healthcare is just at the very beginnings, but there’s huge opportunities there.
Everyone talks about self-driving cars, I think that will come as well, a little bit, that will take a little bit of time to land, but that’s another huge transformation. But I think that we live in a world where just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years, right?
And maybe throughout this presentation, maybe at the end of doing Q&A, if you can think of an industry that AI won’t transform, okay, like a major industry, not a minor one. Raise your hand and let me know. I can just tell you now, my best answer to that. So I once, when my friends and I, sometimes my friends and I actually challenge each other to name an industry that we don’t think would be transformed by AI. My personal best example is hairdressing, right, cutting hair. I don’t know how to build a robot to replace my hairdresser.
Although I once said this same statement on stage, and one of my friends, who is a robotics professor, was in the audience. And so my friend stood up, and she pointed at my head, and she said, Andrew, for most people’s hairstyles, I would agree you can’t build a robot. But for your hairstyle, Andrew, I can.
All right. So despite all this hype about AI, what is AI doing? What can AI really do? It’s driving tremendous economic value, easily billions. At least tens of billions, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars worth of market cap. But what exactly is AI doing? It turns out that almost all this ridiculously huge amounts of value of AI, at least today, and the future may be different, but at least today almost all this massive economic value of AI is driven by one type of AI, by one idea. And this technical term is that it’s called Supervised Learning. And what that means is using AI to figure out a relatively simple A to B mapping, or A to B response. Relatively simple A to B or input to response mappings.