Nvidia CEO says those without AI expertise will be left behind

HONG KONG – Firms and individuals should familiarise themselves with artificial intelligence (AI) or risk losing out, according to Nvidia co-founder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang.

Mr Huang, whose chip design company reached an all-time high on Friday, fuelled by huge demand from AI service providers, gave a commencement address on Saturday saying that the new technology will transform the corporate landscape and change every single job.

“Agile companies will take advantage of AI and boost their position. Companies less so will perish,” the CEO told graduating students at the National Taiwan University in Taipei. “While some worry that AI may take their jobs, someone who is expert with AI will.”

The technology, thrust into the popular consciousness by OpenAI’s ChatGPT late in 2022, will be used as a copilot to supercharge the performance of workers across a wide range of industries, while also creating new jobs that never existed and making some others obsolete, Mr Huang said.

Nvidia’s processors are the gold standard for training AI models such as the one underpinning ChatGPT. The California-based company has been the primary beneficiary of the race to offer rivals to OpenAI’s technology.

The world’s most valuable chipmaker said last week that surging demand for the chips it makes for AI applications meant its revenue in the three months to June would be about US$11 billion (S$15 billion), some 53 per cent more than analysts had expected. Susquehanna Financial Group said it might be the “greatest beat of all time”.

The announcement prompted the stock to jump 24 per cent on Thursday, adding US$184 billion to the company’s valuation. It was the third-biggest one-day gain in market capitalisation in the United States ever.

Nvidia climbed an additional 2.5 per cent on Friday, putting its valuation at US$963.2 billion. To put that in context, Intel, for a long time the world’s biggest chipmaker, is valued at US$114 billion. So Nvidia is now more than eight times bigger. 

Mr Huang, unlike other prominent figures in the global AI ecosystem, such as Alphabet’s Mr Sundar Pichai, Baidu’s Mr Robin Li and OpenAI’s Mr Sam Altman, did not offer any note of caution.

Mr Huang told the students to create something new in the AI age fast, or risk getting left behind.

“In 40 years, we created the PC, Internet, mobile, cloud and, now, the AI era. What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it like we did. Run, don’t walk,” he said. “Either you are running for food, or you are running from becoming food.”



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