A&S Alum and Profs highlighted by Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in AI

September 13, 2023 by Cindy Wang

Time magazine has unveiled the inaugural TIME100 AI, a new list highlighting the 100 most influential people in artificial intelligence, and U of T Department of Computer Science faculty and alumni are among those recognized.  

The 2023 TIME100 AI issue is categorized by leaders, innovators, shapers and thinkers who are influencing today’s AI landscape, and features in-depth profiles and interviews.  

Alumnus Aidan Gomez (HBSc 2018) who is the CEO and co-founder of Cohere, a Toronto-based company that builds and provides language AI models to enterprises, is credited by the magazine for co-authoring “a research paper that would change the entire AI industry” that proposed a novel neural network technique called the transformer. The magazine notes that Gomez chose to focus on working with businesses “because he believed that it was the ‘best way to close the gap’ between AI models being explored in theory vs. being deployed out in the world.” 

Professor Raquel Urtasun, CEO and founder of autonomous driving startup Waabi, tells the magazine about the upsides to entering the space later as a “second mover.” Urtasun notes that it allowed the company to take advantage of recent advances in AI, such as the ability to train its driverless software “much faster and more cheaply than its competitors in part by driving virtual trucks inside a highly realistic AI-generated simulation.” 

Alumnus Ilya Sutskever (HBSc 2005, MSc 2007, PhD 2013), co-founder and chief scientist at OpenAI, is noted by the publication as “one of the industry’s most celebrated technical minds.” Before joining OpenAI as a founding member in 2015, Time notes he “was already famous for breakthroughs that turbocharged the fields of computer vision and machine translation.” 

University Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hinton is recognized as “one of the most influential AI researchers of the past 50 years” playing an instrumental role in the development and popularization of neural networks. The magazine also details his recent decision to leave his post at Google to speak more freely about the risks of AI and “his regrets over helping bring that technology into existence.” 

To read more, check out the Time 100 AI list here.