Google’s deep-learning unit was originally called ‘Project Marvin’ – a possible reference to a morose and paranoid android with a ‘brain the size of a planet’ from ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.’ Ng didn’t like the association with ‘this very depressed robot,’ he says, so he cut to the chase and changed the name to Google Brain.
Scientist Andrew Ng, right, works with others at his office in Palo Alto, Calif. Ng, one of the world’s most renowned researchers in machine learning and artificial intelligence, is facing a dilemma: there aren’t enough experts trained to train the machines.
Ng met his roboticist wife, Carol Reiley, at a robotics conference in Kobe, Japan. They married in 2014 in Carmel, California, in a small ceremony. Ng says Reiley wanted to save money in order to invest in their future – they even got their wedding bands made on a 3-D printer. And instead of a big ceremony, she put $50,000 in Drive.ai, the autonomous driving company she co-founded and leads as president. In its last funding round, the company raised $50 million.
One of Ng’s first computer programs tried to guess a number the user was thinking of. Based simply on the responses ‘higher’ or ‘lower,’ the computer could guess correctly after no more than seven questions.
‘Americans tend to think I sound slightly British and the Brits think I sound horribly American,’ Ng says. ‘According to my mother, I just mumble a lot.’
He buys blue button-down shirts 10 at a time from Nordstrom’s online. ‘I just don’t want to think about it every morning. There’s enough things that I need to decide on every day.’