MLOps Blog

Top Machine Learning Influencers – All the Names You Need to Know

10 min
Pawel Kijko
21st April, 2023

Machine learning wouldn’t be possible without all the great minds. If it wasn’t for them, AI wouldn’t be so advanced and our lives would look completely different.

Following the great minds of machine learning can help you discover new things and deepen your knowledge. It’s fascinating to learn from the best scientists. Among them, you will find influencers, teachers, business leaders, and many more. Undeniably their expertise can help change the world and make it a better place.

On this list, you will find not only influencers but also renowned personalities from the world of Data Science. Take a look at all the names you should know as a machine learning researcher. Learn and get inspired to discover new things!

1. Vladimir Vapnik

Vladimir Vapnik

Vladimir Naumovich Vapnik is one of the main developers of the Vapnik–Chervonenkis theory of statistical learning, and the co-inventor of the support-vector machine method, and support-vector clustering algorithm.

Professor Vapnik gained his Masters Degree in Mathematics in 1958 at Uzbek State University, Samarkand, USSR. From 1961 to 1990 he worked at the Institute of Control Sciences, Moscow, where he became Head of the Computer Science Research Department. He then joined AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, NJ, having been appointed Professor of Computer Science and Statistics at Royal Holloway in 1995. Vladimir Vapnik is a renowned scientist in the field of machine learning.

Profile on Columbia University website || Wikipedia

⇒ Make sure to listen to Lex Fridman interview with Vladimir Vapnik on AI Podcast

⇒ Also, read about Alexey Chervonenkis

2. Andrej Karpathy

The Sr. Director of AI at Tesla, where he leads the team responsible for all neural networks on the Autopilot. Previously, he was a Research Scientist at OpenAI working on Deep Learning in Computer Vision, Generative Modeling and Reinforcement Learning. Andrej Karpathy received his PhD from Stanford, where he worked with Fei-Fei Li on Convolutional/Recurrent Neural Network architectures and their applications in Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing and their intersection.

Andrej Karpathy

Academic Website || LinkedIn || Twitter || GitHub

3. Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro

Gregory Piatetsky Shapiro

Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, Ph.D., is the president of KDnuggets. He is a well-known expert in Business Analytics, Data Mining, and Data Science and a top influencer in the field. He was no. 1 on LinkedIn Top Voices in 2018 on Data Science and Analytics. Gregory is a co-founder of KDD (Knowledge Discovery and Data mining conferences) and co-founder and past chair of SIGKDD, a professional organization for Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. Gregory has over 60 publications and edited several books and collections on data mining and knowledge discovery.

⇒ Check out Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro Selected Publications on KDNuggets

Twitter || LinkedIn || KDNuggets

4. Allie K. Miller

Allie Miller is the US Head of AI Business Development for Startups and Venture Capital at Amazon, advancing the greatest AI companies in the world.

Previously, Allie was the youngest-ever woman to build an artificial intelligence product at IBM—spearheading large-scale product development across computer vision, conversation, data, and regulation.

Allie K Miller

Outside of work, Allie is changing the game of AI. Allie has spoken about AI and field diversity around the world, addressed the European Commission, drafted foreign AI strategies, and created eight guidebooks to educate businesses on how to build successful AI projects.

LinkedIn || Twitter || Instagram || Website

5. Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun is VP & Chief AI Scientist at Facebook and Silver Professor at NYU affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences & the Center for Data Science. 

He was the founding Director of Facebook AI Research and of the NYU Center for Data Science. He received an Engineering Diploma from ESIEE (Paris) and a PhD from Sorbonne Université. After a postdoc in Toronto he joined AT&T Bell Labs in 1988, and AT&T Labs in 1996 as Head of Image Processing Research. He joined NYU as a professor in 2003 and Facebook in 2013. 

His interests include AI machine learning, computer perception, robotics and computational neuroscience. 

He is the recipient of the 2018 ACM Turing Award (with Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio) for “conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing”, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

⇒ To learn about Yann LeCun interesting work, listen to Lex Fridman interview with Yann LeCun on AI Podcast

LinkedIn || Twitter || Website || Quora

6. Fei-Fei Li

A computer scientist, non-profit executive, and writer. She is a professor at Stanford University and the co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute and the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab. 

She served as the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) from 2013 to 2018. In 2017, she co-founded AI4ALL, a nonprofit organization working to increase diversity and inclusion in the field of artificial intelligence. 

Fei-Fei Li

Her research expertise includes artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and cognitive neuroscience.

She was the leading scientist and principal investigator of ImageNet.

She has been described as an “AI pioneer” and a “researcher bringing humanity to AI”.

Fei-Fei Li has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering which is among the highest professional distinctions for engineers.

Twitter || LinkedIn || Academic Profile

7. Jürgen Schmidhuber

Jurgen Schmidhuber

A computer scientist most noted for his work in the field of artificial intelligence, deep learning and artificial neural networks. He is a co-director of the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research in Manno, in the district of Lugano, in Ticino in southern Switzerland. 

He is sometimes called the “father of (modern) AI” or, one time, the “father of deep learning.”

Schmidhuber did his undergraduate studies at the Technische Universität München in Munich, Germany. He taught there from 2004 until 2009 when he became a professor of artificial intelligence at the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland.

⇒ And Lex Fridman interview with Jürgen Schmidhuber

LinkedIn || Twitter || Website

8. Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom is a Swedish philosopher at the University of Oxford known for his work on existential risk, the anthropic principle, human enhancement ethics, superintelligence risks, and the reversal test. 

In 2011, he founded the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, and is the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. In 2009 and 2015, he was included in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list.

Nick Bostrom

Bostrom is the author of over 200 publications, and has written two books and co-edited two others. The two books he has authored are Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy (2002) and Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014). Superintelligence was a New York Times bestseller, was recommended by Elon Musk and Bill Gates among others, and helped to popularize the term “superintelligence“.

Website || More on Nick Bostrom on Wikipedia and TED

9. Angelica Lim

Angelica Lim

Dr. Angelica Lim received her Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Intelligence Science from Kyoto University, and B.Sc. in Computing Science with Minor in French from Simon Fraser University, Canada. A key member on the Pepper humanoid robot project with Softbank and Aldebaran Robotics, she has interned as a software engineer and researcher at Google Santa Monica, Honda Research Institute Japan, and I3S-CNRS, France.

She has worked on robots and artificial intelligence for over 10 years, and is currently interested in signal processing, machine learning and developmental robotics for intelligent systems, particularly in the field of emotions. She is one of four journalists for the IEEE Spectrum Automaton Robotics Blog, and was a speaker at TEDx Kyoto 2012 (“On Designing User-Friendly Robots”) and TEDx KualaLumpur 2014 (“Robots, Emotions and Empathy”).

She was a Guest Editor for the International Journal of Synthetic Emotions, and has received various awards including CITEC Award for Excellence in Doctoral HRI Research (2014), NTF Award for Entertainment Robots and Systems IROS (2010), and the Google Canada Anita Borg Scholarship (2008). She has been featured on the BBC, given talks at SXSW and TEDx, hosted a TV documentary on robotics, and was recently featured in Forbes 20 Leading Women in AI.

Twitter || LinkedIn || Website

10. Fabio Moioli

Fabio Moioli is Head Consulting & Services at Microsoft. Faculty at Harvard, SingularityU, MIP – Artificial & Human Intelligences – AI TEDx. Has 250.000+ followers on Linkedin & Twitter, where he mainly addresses opportunities and challenges raised by Artificial Intelligence and exponential technologies, including societal and ethical perspectives.

Major areas of expertise include Artificial Intelligence, Digital Platforms, Transformation programs, Lean Operations, Product & Services Innovation, and more.

Fabio Moioli

LinkedIn || Twitter || Instagram

11. Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng

A businessman, computer scientist, investor, and writer. He is focusing on machine learning and AI. As a businessman and investor, Ng co-founded and led Google Brain and was a former Vice President and Chief Scientist at Baidu, building the company’s Artificial Intelligence Group into a team of several thousand people.

Ng is an adjunct professor at Stanford University (formerly associate professor and Director of its AI Lab). Also a pioneer in online education, Ng co-founded Coursera and With his online courses, he has successfully spearheaded many efforts to “democratize deep learning” teaching over 2.5 million students through his online courses. 

He is one of the world’s most famous and influential computer scientists being named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, and Fast Company’s Most Creative People in 2014. Since 2018 he launched and currently heads AI Fund, initially a $175-million investment fund for backing artificial intelligence startups. He has founded Landing AI, which provides AI-powered SaaS products and Transformation Program to empower enterprises into cutting-edge AI companies.

⇒ Listen to Lex Fridman interview with Andrew Ng

Twitter || LinkedIn || Website || Coursera

12. Oriol Vinyals

Oriol Vinyals is a Principal Scientist at Google DeepMind, working in Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Prior to joining DeepMind, Oriol was part of the Google Brain team. 

He holds a Phd. in EECS from the University of California, Berkeley and is a recipient of the 2016 MIT TR35 innovator award.

Some of his contributions are used in Google Translate, Text-To-Speech, and Speech recognition, serving billions of queries every day, and he was the lead researcher of the AlphaStar project, creating an agent that defeated a top professional at the game of StarCraft, achieving Grandmaster level. 

Oriol Vinyals

At DeepMind he continues working on his areas of interest, which include artificial intelligence, with particular emphasis on machine learning, deep learning and reinforcement learning.

⇒ Check out Lex Fridman interview with Oriol Vinyals

Twitter || LinkedIn || Google Research

13. Reza Zadeh

Reza Zadeh

Reza Zadeh is founder and CEO at Matroid and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford. His work focuses on Machine Learning, Distributed Computing, and Discrete Applied Mathematics. 

He’s served on the Technical Advisory Boards of Microsoft and Databricks, and has been working on Machine Learning since 2005 when he worked in Google’s AI research team. His awards include a KDD Best Paper Award and the Gene Golub Outstanding Thesis Award at Stanford. 

Stanford Profile || Twitter || LinkedIn

14. Ben Goertzel

Ben Goertzel is an artificial intelligence researcher. Goertzel is the chief scientist of chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC; chairman of the OpenCog Foundation; and advisor to Singularity University. He was Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute.

His research work encompasses artificial general intelligence, natural language processing, cognitive science, data mining, machine learning, computational finance, bioinformatics, virtual worlds and gaming and other areas. He has published a dozen scientific books, 100+ technical papers, and numerous journalistic articles. Before entering the software industry he served as a university faculty in several departments of mathematics, computer science and cognitive science, in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Ben Goertzel

LinkedIn || Twitter || Website

15. Adam Coates

Adam Coates

Director at Apple. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 2012 and was the director of the Silicon Valley AI Lab at Baidu Research until September 2017, then an Operating Partner at Khosla Ventures until 2018. 

During his graduate career, he co-developed an autonomous aerobatic helicopter, worked on perception systems for household robots, and early large-scale deep learning methods. He developed  deep learning software for high-performance computing systems with a team at Stanford, used for unsupervised learning, object detection and self-driving cars.

Previous projects:  Baidu Deep Voice, Deep Speech.  DL on COTS HPC, Stanford AI Robot, Stanford Autonomous Helicopter.

LinkedIn || Twitter || Website

16. Kirk Borne

Worldwide top influencer since 2013. Data Scientist. Global Speaker. Consultant. Astrophysicist. Space Scientist.

Big Data & Data Science advisor, TedX speaker, researcher, blogger, Data Literacy advocate. Currently Principal Data Scientist and Executive Advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton, Annapolis Junction, MD.

Kirk Borne

Twitter || LinkedIn || Website

17. Ronald von Loon

Ronald van Loon

A recognized expert and thought leader in Data Science, works with data-driven companies to generate business value so that they may meet and exceed goal after goal.

Ronald van Loon has been recognized for his work in the field of digital transformation by such publications and organizations as Onalytica, Dataconomy, and Klout. In addition to these recognitions, he is also an author for a number of leading big data websites, including The Guardian, The Datafloq, and Data Science Central, and he regularly speaks at renowned events and conferences.

Twitter || LinkedIn || Other profiles

18. Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called “the father of modern linguistics“, Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. 

He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Laureate Professor at the University of Arizona, and is the author of more than 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media.

If you are interested in Natural Language Processing and cognitive science, you should follow Noam Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky

⇒ Listen to Lex Fridman interview with Noam Chomsky about Language, Cognition, and Deep Learning on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Podcast

Twitter || Website || Facebook

19. Lex Fridman

Lex Fridman

Lex Fridman fields of expertise include research in human-centered AI, deep learning, autonomous vehicles & robotics at MIT and beyond. Also, he teaches courses on deep learning.

He is known for his Artificial Intelligence Podcast where he talks about all Data Science related topics with the most renowned scientists from the field.

Website || Twitter || LinkedIn || YouTube || Instagram

20. Kai-Fu Lee

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee is one of the world’s leading AI experts and has been in AI research, development, and investment for over 30 years. Dr. Lee is the Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, and the President of Sinovation’s Artificial Intelligence Institute, and former President of Google China.

Kai-Fu Lee

⇒ Watch Lex Fridman interview with Kai-Fu Lee

Twitter || LinkedIn || Website

21. Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk co-founded and leads Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company.

Previously, Musk co-founded and sold PayPal, the world’s leading Internet payment system, and Zip2, one of the first internet maps and directions services.

Although known for his controversial opinions, he’s one of the leading AI influencers in the world.

Twitter || Instagram || Neuralink || The Boring Company || SpaceX || Tesla

22. Bernard Marr 

He’s a world-renowned futurist, influencer, and thought leader in the field of business and technology. He is the author of 18 best-selling books, writes a regular column for Forbes, and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organizations. He has 2 million social media followers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

Bernard Marr

Website || LinkedIn || Twitter || Facebook

23. Rachel Thomas 

Rachel Thomas

Rachel Thomas is the co-founder of, which created the Practical Deep Learning for Coders course taken by over 200,000 students and which has been featured in The Economist, MIT Tech Review, and Forbes. She was selected by Forbes as one of 20 Incredible Women in AI, earned her math PhD at Duke, and was an early engineer at Uber. Rachel is a popular writer and keynote speaker on topics of data ethics, AI accessibility, and bias in machine learning.

Website || LinkedIn || Twitter

24. Moustapha Cisse

Moustapha Cisse is a research scientist at Google and head of the Google AI center in Accra, Ghana, where he leads research efforts in foundational machine learning and its applications to solving complex societal challenges.

Moustapha is also a professor of machine learning at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where he is the founder and director of the African Masters of Machine Intelligence program. He was previously a research scientist at Facebook AI Research. Before that, he completed his PhD at University Pierre and Marie Curie in France.

Moustapha Cisse

Twitter || LinkedIn

25. Kate Crawford

Kate Crawford

Kate Crawford is a leading researcher and professor in the fields of social implications of data systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence. She is a Senior Principal Researcher at MSR-NYC, the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and the Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne. 

Kate is the co-founder of the AI Now Institute at New York University, the world’s first university institute dedicated to researching the social implications of artificial intelligence and related technologies.

Website || Twitter

26. Sam Altman

Sam Altman is an entrepreneur, investor, programmer, and blogger. He is the CEO of OpenAI and the Chairman of Y Combinator, a leading silicon valley startup accelerator that has helped launch companies such as Reddit, Dropbox, and Airbnb. He is an investor in many companies, and a chairman of the board for Helion and Oklo, two nuclear energy companies.

Sam Altman

Twitter || Website

27. Martin Ford

Martin Ford

His book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, was a New York Times bestseller and won the £30,000 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. 

Martin Ford is also the consulting artificial intelligence expert for the new Robotics and AI  ETF from Lyxor/Societe Generale (Ticker ROAI), which is focused specifically on investing in companies that will be significant participants in the AI and robotics revolution. He holds a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a graduate business degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Website || Twitter || LinkedIn

28. Alexis Conneau

Alexis Conneau is a resident Ph.D. student at Facebook AI Research in Paris. 

He focuses is in the area of deep learning for natural language processing (NLP). Specifically, he is working on transferable text representations using neural networks.

Conneau’s research interests include natural language understanding, sequence to sequence learning, and neural machine translation.

LinkedIn || Twitter || Alexis Conneau on Google Scholar

29. Andreas Maier 

Andreas Maier is an ML researcher and Professor at the Pattern Recognition Lab at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He developed PEAKS, the first online tool to assess speech intelligibility. Since 2016, he is a member of the steering committee of the European Time Machine Consortium.

His current research interests focus on medical imaging, image and audio processing, digital humanities, and interpretable machine learning, and the use of known operators.

Twitter || Website || Andreas Maier on Google Scholar

30. François Chollet 

François Chollet is a software engineer and AI researcher currently working as a Staff Software Engineer at Google. He’s the creator of Keras, a leading deep learning framework for Python, and the author of Deep Learning with Python.

His primary interests involve general intelligence, making AI technology easy to understand, helping people use the full potential of AI, and understanding and simulating the early stages of human cognitive development.

François Chollet

LinkedIn || Twitter || Website || Google Scholar

31. Geoffrey Hinton


Geoffrey Hinton is an emeritus professor at the Department of Computer Science at

the University of Toronto. He is also a VP Engineering fellow at Google and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Vector Institute. He was one of the researchers who introduced the backpropagation algorithm and the first to use backpropagation for learning word embeddings. His other contributions to neural network research include Boltzmann machines, distributed representations, time-delay neural nets, mixtures of experts, variational learning and deep learning. His research group in Toronto made major breakthroughs in deep learning that revolutionized speech recognition and object classification.

Geoffrey Hinton is a fellow of the UK Royal Society and a foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hinton received the 2018 Turing Award, together with Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun, for their work on deep learning. They are sometimes referred to as the “Godfathers of AI” and “Godfathers of Deep Learning”.

Twitter || Website

32. Demis Hassabis

Demis Hassabis is an artificial intelligence researcher and neuroscientist. He is the CEO and co-founder of DeepMind and a UK Government AI Advisor since 2018. He’s also a five times winner of the Pentamind board games championship. Hassabis is recognized worldwide as one of the smartest thinkers in his field.

Demis Hassabis

Twitter || DeepMind

33. Ian J. Goodfellow 

Ian Goodfellow

Ian Goodfellow is a machine learning researcher. He’s the Director of Machine Learning at Apple’s Special Projects Group. He was previously employed as a research scientist at Google Brain. He’s the author of the Deep Learning textbook. Goodfellow has made several contributions to the field of deep learning.

LinkedIn || Website || Twitter

34. Jerome Pesenti 

Jerome Pesenti is the AI team leader at Facebook pursuing fundamental and applied research in AI and making Facebook products safer and more valuable to people through the use of AI. Prior to joining Facebook, Jerome joined IBM to lead the development of its Watson platform after the startup he co-founded, Vivisimo, was acquired by the company in 2012. He went on to later become the CEO of BenevolentTech.

Jerome Pesenti

Twitter || LinkedIn

35. Yoshua Bengio

Yoshua Bengio

Yoshua Bengio is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence and a pioneer in deep learning. Since 1993, he has been a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operational Research at the Université de Montréal. CIFAR’s Learning in Machines & Brains Program Co-Director, he is also the founder and scientific director of Mila, the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, the world’s largest university-based research group in deep learning.

In 2019, he received the ACM A.M. Turing Award, “the Nobel Prize of Computing”, jointly with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun for conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing.

LinkedIn || Website || Google Scholar

Make sure to follow these great influencers to stay on top of the latest machine learning news, get inspired, and learn new, wonderful things.

What other machine learning influencers do you follow?