Fei-Fei Li, Computer Scientist
As Director of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and Vision Lab, Fei-Fei Li is working to solve AI’s trickiest problems -- including image recognition, learning and language processing.
Using algorithms built on machine learning methods such as neural network models, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab led by Fei-Fei Li has created software capable of recognizing scenes in still photographs -- and accurately describe them using natural language.
Li’s work with neural networks and computer vision (with Stanford’s Vision Lab) marks a significant step forward for AI research, and could lead to applications ranging from more intuitive image searches to robots able to make autonomous decisions in unfamiliar situation
Rajiv Maheswaran, Researcher
Using advanced data analysis tools, Rajiv Maheswaran and Second Spectrum help make basketball teams smarter.
In the world of North American sports, baseball and football fans are obsessed with stats about player performance and game-day physics. But basketball, a much more fluid and fast-moving game, has been harder to understand through numbers. Rajiv Maheswaran is working to change that, by offering pro basketball teams insight into game data to make better decisions. Maheswaran is the CEO and co-founder of Second Spectrum, a startup transforming sports through technology. He is also a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California's Computer Science Department and a Project Leader at the Information Sciences Institute at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, where he co-directs the Computational Behavior Group.
His research spans various aspects of multi-agent systems and distributed artificial intelligence using decision-theoretic and game-theoretic frameworks and solutions. His current interests focus on data analytics, visualization and real-time interaction to understand behavior in spatiotemporal domains. Like, say, the spatiotemporal domain around a basketball hoop.
JIM SIMONS,PHILANTHROPIST, MATHEMATICIAN
After astonishing success as a mathematician, code breaker and billionaire hedge fund manager, Jim Simons is mastering yet another field: philanthropy.
As a mathematician who cracked codes for the National Security Agency on the side, Jim Simons had already revolutionized geometry -- and incidentally laid the foundation for string theory -- when he began to get restless. Along with a few hand-picked colleagues he started the investment firm that went on to become Renaissance, a hedge fund working with hitherto untapped algorithms, and became a billionaire in the process.
Now retired as Renaissance’s CEO, Simons devotes his time to mathematics and philanthropy. The Simons Foundation has committed more than a billion dollars to math and science education and to autism research.
NICK BOSTROM, PHILOSOPHER
Nick Bostrom specializes in big questions. What should we do, as individuals and as a species, to optimize our long-term prospects? What is our strategic situation? Will humanity’s technological advancements ultimately destroy us?
Philosopher Nick Bostrom envisioned a future full of human enhancement, nanotechnology and machine intelligence long before they became mainstream concerns. From his famous simulation argument -- which identified some striking implications of rejecting the Matrix-like idea that humans are living in a computer simulation -- to his work on existential risk, Bostrom approaches both the inevitable and the speculative using the tools of philosophy, probability theory, and scientific analysis.
Since 2005, Professor Bostrom leads a research group of mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists at Oxford University tasked with investigating the big picture for the human condition and its future. He has been referred to as one of the most important thinkers of our age.
His recent book Superintelligence advances the ominous idea that “the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”
ABE DAVIS, COMPUTER SCIENTIST
Computer vision expert Abe Davis pioneers methods to extract audio from silent digital videos, even footage shot on ordinary consumer cameras.
MIT PhD student, computer vision wizard and rap artist Abe Davis has co-created the world’s most improbable audio instrument. In 2014, Davis and his collaborators debuted the “visual microphone,” an algorithm that samples the sympathetic vibrations of ordinary objects (such as a potato chip bag) from ordinary high-speed video footage and transduces them into intelligible audio tracks.
Davis is also the author of Caperture, a 3D-imaging app designed to create and share 3D images on any compatible smartphone.