Baidu to lose chief sci­en­tist

New Straits Times - - Business -

BEI­JING: The chief sci­en­tist help­ing drive Baidu Inc’s push into ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) is quit­ting the Chi­nese search gi­ant, putting at risk its ef­forts to put AI at the cen­tre of a busi­ness re­vival.

Andrew Ng, a Stan­ford Univer­sity aca­demic who worked on deep learn­ing at Al­pha­bet Inc be­fore join­ing Baidu in 2014, said he was leav­ing the busi­ness next month.

Ng doesn’t plan to join an­other tech­nol­ogy com­pany and will seek to bring AI into sec­tors such as health­care and ed­u­ca­tion around the world.

The de­par­ture comes at a cru­cial point for Baidu as it at­tempts to re­vive its for­tunes by em­brac­ing ma­chine in­tel­li­gence across all of its busi­ness units.

“It’s all very am­i­ca­ble,” said Ng, adding that he’d dis­cussed the move with Baidu co-founder Robin Li for sev­eral months.

“I’m very con­fi­dent the team will sur­vive. In China, Baidu is so far ahead and AI is not easy.”

Ng is a found­ing fa­ther of deep learn­ing — a stream of AI re­cently pop­u­larised by tech gi­ants around the world — and the public face of Baidu’s AI ef­forts. Bloomberg

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