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Andrew Ng: Forget about building an AI-first business. Start with a mission.

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Jeremy Portje Andrew Ng has worn many hats in his life. You may know him as the founder of the Google Brain team or the former chief scientist at Baidu . You may also know him as your own instructor. He has taught countless students, curious listeners, and business leaders about the principles of machine learning through his wildly popular online courses.

Now in his latest venture, Landing AI , which he started in 2017, he is exploring how businesses without giant data sets to draw on can still join in the AI revolution.

On March 23, Ng joined MIT Technology Review’s virtual EmTech Digital, our annual AI event, to share the lessons he’s learned.

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. MIT Technology Review: I’m sure people frequently ask you, “How do I build an AI-first business?” What do you usually say to that?

Andrew Ng: I usually say, “Don’t do that.” If I go to a team and say, “Hey, everyone, please be AI-first,” that tends to focus the team on technology, which might be great for a research lab. But in terms of how I execute the business, I tend to be customer-led or […]

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