Andrew Ng, newly appointed chief scientist at Baidu, China’s dominant search company, is here to talk about his plans to advance deep learning, a powerful new approach to artificial intelligence loosely modeled on the way the brain works. It has already made computers vastly better at recognizing speech, translating languages, and identifying images—and Ng’s work at Google and Stanford University, where he was a professor of computer science, is behind some of the biggest breakthroughs.
Baidu has made Ng, 38, the linchpin of an effort to transform itself into a global force. The company hired him in May to head its research organization, which includes a new artificial-intelligence lab in Silicon Valley and two labs in Beijing, one focused on deep learning and the other on large-scale data analysis. Often called China’s Google, the company plans to invest $300 million in the new lab and a development office on the same floor over the next five years.