The Top AI Influencers of 2023

There Were Plenty of People Talking AI in 2023. Here Are the Ones to Follow.

The Top AI Influencers of 2023

Introduction: Generative AI is widely considered the fastest moving technology innovation in history. It has captured the imagination of consumers and enterprises across the globe, spawning incredible innovation and along with it a mutating market ecosystem. Generative AI has also caused a copious amount of news and hype. To avoid AI FOMO and find the right path, the wise will pay attention to trends and not be distracted by every announcement and news byte.

With that in mind, one of the best ways to stay informed about the “ground truth” of AI evolution is to listen to and read what the experts are saying and thinking. In my view, that means seeking out a collection of individuals that think about AI from different perspectives:

  • Technical: Thinkers who focus on AI technology itself; what it can do
  • Business: Thinkers who focus on how AI technology is best used in businesses
  • Responsible: Thinkers who focus on how AI technology should be used; guardrails for safe use

Using this rationale, here is my totally subjective list of 14 individuals who were significant AI influencers in 2023 and may be worth monitoring in 2024. They are listed in alphabetical order.

The Top AI Influencers of 2023

Matt Baker, Dell Technologies: Senior Vice President leading AI strategy, follow on LinkedIn 

Follow because: You are interested in on-premises AI. Matt is one of the leading voices making the case for on-premises AI. He posts regularly on LinkedIn on the topic, sharing learnings from Dell, opinions on tooling, solutions, open source, and more. He has worked in senior positions for strategy at Dell since 2006 and was named in charge of AI strategy at Dell in 2023. He seems to have a great understanding of how enterprises will look at tackling AI not just from an IT executive’s perspective but from the business as a whole. Check out his newsletter, Unconventional Wisdom.

Kathy Baxter, Salesforce: Principal Architect, Responsible AI and Tech, follow on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter)

Follow because: You are interested in how to apply AI risk management, AI safety, and responsible AI. Kathy is a pioneer in the development of best practices for responsible AI, having led the team that assembled Salesforce’s framework. Salesforce not only encourages initial assessments but are also proponents of lifecycle management of responsible AI. No one better to follow if you want to understand AI risk management.

Jeff Dean, Google DeepMind, Google Research: Chief Scientist, follow on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter)

Follow because: You are interested in the latest innovation in AI models. Great resource if you want to learn about the swiftly moving large language model (LLM) landscape, from models to tooling and hacks. Led the team that developed the Gemini models. Jeff does a great job explaining the data science views in layperson’s terms.

Clem Delangue, Hugging Face: Cofounder and CEO, follow on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter)

Follow because: You are interested in staying abreast of the leading edge of AI development, particularly open source options. Hugging Face has been around since 2016, but this developer platform has become massively popular for developing AI in 2023. The broad range of ecosystem partners gives his posts different perspectives.

Ali Ghodsi, Databricks: CEO and Cofounder, follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in the role of leveraging proprietary data in AI. Follow and read to understand the opportunities and challenges of harnessing data for AI.

Cobus Greyling, Chief Evangelist, follow on LinkedIn, X, and Medium

Follow because: You are interested in great insights into LLM strengths and weaknesses and LLM application development. Authoritative voice on natural language processing and consequently, the effectiveness and ability of LLMs.

Eric Horvitz, Microsoft: Chief Scientific Officer, follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in AI models’ rapid mutation and the latest tooling, frameworks, and science to manipulate them. Horvitz is leading a team that over the past year has been at the forefront of AI model innovation and management, from the launch of new small language models such as Orca 2 and Phi-2 to techniques such as prompt engineering and red teaming.

Arthur Mensch, Mistral AI: Cofounder and CEO, follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in the potential of small language models and open source AI. Mistral AI’s models are cutting-edge AI models that are smaller and deliver better results at lower costs than LLMs.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft: CEO, follow on LinkedIn: follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in how to lead a company through operationalizing AI. No leader has led so boldly and smartly through the operationalization of generative AI than Nadella has over the past 18 months.

Andrew Ng, Coursera: Founder, follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in getting educated about AI. Ng is an evangelist for AI education in a world where there is little expertise. His background in leading Google Brain makes him a very credible resource.

Armand Ruiz, IBM: Director watsonx team, follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in hearing about enterprise-grade AI options. IBM has built an AI stack with a great deal of thought, including pioneering AI governance automations that are now being copied. Ruiz monitors cutting-edge AI innovations and trends and provides commentary and guidance that are not knee-jerk reaction.

Travis Vigil, Dell Technologies: Senior Vice President, product management, follow on LinkedIn and X

Follow because: You are interested in understanding what it takes to build and maintain a private AI stack, including accessing and leveraging proprietary data. Vigil’s Talking Tech With Travis webcast/podcast does cover broader IT stack subjects, but Season 2, which just started, will undoubtedly feature deeper dives into the complexity of the AI-specific stack.

Andreas Welsch, SAP: Vice President, head of marketing and solutions management – AI, follow on LinkedIn and X with an intelligence briefing

Follow because: You are interested in understanding best practices of an enterprise that has successfully operationalized AI. Welsch has been a pioneer of AI influencers, writing and podcasting with AI guidance for a few years. Leaning both on SAP’s successful journey in operationalizing AI and a wide range of experts, Andreas delivers very practical AI advice and education.

Matt Wood, AWS: Vice President, technology, follow on LinkedIn

Follow because: You are interested in cutting-edge AI innovation and understanding the public cloud-based AI stack approach. Matt was an early proponent of the “many AI models, choose what works for particular use” approach. Good insights on the latest AI developer and AI compute developments and around the economics of public cloud AI.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Key Trends in Generative AI – The AI Moment, Episode 1

Top Trends in AI This Week: October 9, 2023

Top Trends in AI This Week: August 25, 2023

Author Information

Mark comes to The Futurum Group from Omdia’s Artificial Intelligence practice, where his focus was on natural language and AI use cases.

Previously, Mark worked as a consultant and analyst providing custom and syndicated qualitative market analysis with an emphasis on mobile technology and identifying trends and opportunities for companies like Syniverse and ABI Research. He has been cited by international media outlets including CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, and CNET. Based in Tampa, Florida, Mark is a veteran market research analyst with 25 years of experience interpreting technology business and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida.


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