5 Data Scientists and How They’re Changing the World

influential data scientists

Famous Data Scientists Who Are Changing the World

  • Jurgen Schmidhuber
  • Kenneth Cukier
  • Peter Norvig
  • Andrew Ng
  • Kira Radinsky

Data scientists are changing the world with their hard work and innovations. Their influence spans technology, data mining, economics, robotics, artificial intelligence, and beyond. Below are five world-changing data scientists.

Related Resource: 20 Best Data Science Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

Kenneth Cukier

Kenneth Cukier is not only a data scientist, he is an author and award-winning journalist. He is the senior editor of the Digital section of the Economist, overseeing data analytics. Cukier also co-authored Big Data: A Revolution That Transforms How We Live, Work, and Think with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, which has sold over 1 million copies in 21 languages. He is an advocate for consumer rights in the collection of “big data,” large data sets that are collected and analyzed computationally to find patterns, trends, and associations related to human behavior.

Peter Norvig

Peter Norvig is a computer scientist and the director of research at Google and was head of the Computational Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center. Norvig co-authored Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach with Stuart Russell, which has become the leading text in the field. He has over 50 other publications, focusing on artificial intelligence, natural language processing, information retrieval and software engineering. He is also one of the creators of JScheme, a dialect of Scheme with a simple Java interface.

Jurgen Schmidhuber

Jurgen Schmidhuber has one goal before he retires, to create a self-improving artificial intelligence that is smarter than he is. Schmidhuber has transformed machine intelligence through his work with Deep Learning Neural Networks. This work has led to improved speech recognition in Android phones; machine translation through Google Translate, Facebook, Siri, and Quicktype; and the answers of Amazon’s Alexa. Schmidhuber has published 333 peer-reviewed papers. He also won both the 2013 Helmholtz Award of the International Neural Networks Society and the 2016 IEEE Neural Networks Pioneer Award.

Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is a computer scientist and entrepreneur. He was the former VP and Chief Scientist of Baidu, founded and led Google Brain, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of Coursera (an online course platform), and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. Ng helped developed an autonomous helicopter as a member of the Stanford Autonomous Helicopter project and a widely used open-source robotics software (ROS) as a member of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Robot project (STAIR). He also co-authored a paper that introduced latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), a way of automatically discovering topics contained within a variety of sentences.

Kira Radinsky

Kira Radinsky is eBay Director of Data Science and Chief Scientist Israel. Radinsky predicts the future through algorithms that utilize web data to enable early warning systems for riots, disease, and other globally impactful events. She has written over 20 scholarly articles with over 1205 citations, demonstrating her reach and influence as a data scientist. Some of her predictions include the riots in Egypt and Sudan, the cholera outbreak in Cuba, and the outcome of the trial of an infamous drug dealer.


These are just five of the data scientists who are changing the world. Analyzing data has allowed scientists to create smarter artificial intelligence, predict human behavior, and produce autonomous robotics. Thanks to the web and social media, it’s easier than ever to follow the achievements of data scientists as they change the world.

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