Andrew Ng’s Next Trick: Training a Million AI Experts

Millions of people should master deep learning, says a leading AI researcher and educator.

Andrew Ng, one of the world’s best-known artificial-intelligence experts, is launching an online effort to create millions more AI experts across a range of industries. Ng, an early pioneer in online learning, hopes his new deep-learning course on Coursera will train people to use the most powerful idea to have emerged in AI in recent years.

AI experts have become some of the most sought-after and well-paid employees in today’s tech economy. Deep learning involves teaching a machine to perform a complex task using large amounts of data along with a large simulated neural network. The technique has typically required deep technical knowledge and expertise to master (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013: Deep Learning”).

Ng left his post as chief scientist at the Chinese Internet company Baidu this March, and there has been widespread speculation about what his next move might be (see “Andrew Ng Is Leaving Baidu in Search of a Big New AI Mission”). He says the deep-learning course is the first of three projects he plans to launch through his new startup,

Before joining Baidu, Ng was a professor at Stanford and then the founder of Coursera, creating a machine-learning course that has attracted more than two million enrollees over the past few years. Several years ago, Ng was also the founding director of the Google Brain project, an effort to deploy deep learning across the company.

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