AI is the New Electricity With Dr. Andrew Ng of Landing.AI/Coursera/Stanford

Once upon a time, electricity came along. It was an unknown and unlike anything that ever came before it. Now, we can’t ever imagine living without electricity. It’s what seems to power everything in work and life. And, it touches every industry.

AI has Changed Everything

Now, AI is doing the very same thing and across industries. We’ll look back on this point and time and realize just how much AI changed everything and try to imagine what life was like now before AI really became part of everything.

Why has AI Finally Taken Off?

Dr. Andrew Ng began his discussion at Startup Grind’s 2018 Global Conference. Then, he explained why AI is taking off now. There is a perfect storm of incredible data accumulation due to increased use of devices and online channels along with a focus on achieving the greatest performance levels within companies. AI has the data and computational power to deliver the best approaches to achieving optimum performance levels.


Because of the potential, though, a lot of hype has also emerged. The hype makes many industries unsure of just what does works with AI and what might still be the stuff of science fiction. What Dr. Ng illustrates that  it's the AI process that holds the most economic value for the widest range of industries. 

To illustrate that, Dr. Ng shared numerous industry examples of what the AI means across differing industries.. It means determining whether an email is spam or not. It can mean taking an online ad, and determining which ad is most likely to be clicked on. Or, it could be a medical record and determining mortality rate based on the data within each record.

Catches the Defects Quicker

Additionally, this AI process could be used in a manufacturing facility to determine which part might be defective so it can be taken out of the line rather than going out and breaking down once it reaches the customer.

The Misinterpretations

Dr. Ng also had a very good illustration to explain the AI era and how it can be misinterpreted. He likened it to shopping centers that got websites and then thought they were Internet companies. The reality was they weren’t anything close to it. For example, they didn’t conduct A/B testing, offer fast shipping, or push decision making farther down the chain like a real Internet company.

What AI is Not

The same goes with the AI era. A tech company with neural networks does not make it an AI company. There are numerous tech companies that have done a great job rising up on the Internet, and there are some that have even gotten into AI somewhat effectively.

Yet, they are not AI companies per se. For example, they do not undertake strategic data acquisition, unify their data warehouses, or pursue every automation opportunity. Also, there are also many unnamed capabilities that an AI company will be able to do that a tech company cannot.

AI Can Touch Every Industry -- But Will It?

However, what Dr. Ng does see is that AI has the potential to touch every industry and process. Whether it is recent talent that has graduated from AI programs or online resources that help you learn AI, Dr. Ng emphasized the value of pursuing AI in some form to integrate within every company – from startups to global enterprises – to realize new benefits and competitive advantages.