Google Brain Deep Learning Project founder and renowned artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng launched a new AI fund backed by $175 million from SoftBank, Sequoia, NEA, and Greylock Partners, among others. Mr. Ng is set to head the operation in a general partner capacity but doesn't intend to run a conventional fund that's actively looking for independent startups to back and incubate. The majority of the newly awarded resources will instead be used for the expert's own initiatives in the AI field which are expected to span multiple companies and general ventures. The structure is in line with Mr. Ng's existing portfolio which consists of numerous initiatives; besides Google's deep learning endeavor, he founded the Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) program and co-founded popular online course platform Coursera, as well as separate learning programs in the form of Deeplearning.ai and Landing.ai.
Mr. Ng believes that consistently establishing new AI firms is a sustainable way for the industry to move forward, adding that such entities have a major advantage over traditional startups in the context of being able to analyze their products much more quickly by relying on machine learning and general applications of related technologies. Being able to swiftly determine the pros and cons of a product or a service allows the company to improve it in a more reliable manner, ultimately commercializing its project more effectively, according to the United Kingdom-born computer scientist who's been residing in the United States since resigning from the position of Baidu's chief scientist last March following a three-year stint with the Chinese tech giant.
Mr. Ng is a big advocate of using AI solutions in all aspects of the economy, claiming that such technologies can "inject velocity" into any business model due to the reasons described above. Being able to devise a repeatable AI model meant to incubate startups in a quicker manner should also lead to more stability in the industry as a whole, he believes, adding that establishing such operations was his main task at Baidu. The new AI fund is meant to continue pursuing that idea but details about its exact plans remain largely undisclosed, with Mr. Ng only revealing that some of the funds are meant to go into ensuring a "fairer society."