Naveen Rao Drives Artificial Intelligence into the Future

Intel’s head of AI talks about driving racecars, growing up in rural Kentucky and how AI marks a natural evolution of the human race.

Under the blazing sun at a race track in Thermal, CA, a pioneer in artificial intelligence grips the wheel of his Ferrari 488 and floors the accelerator. The tinder dry vegetation outside becomes a blur and the smell of sun scorched asphalt feeds his adrenaline rush. Naveen Rao, the driver, is fired up.

“I love building stuff and diving into the technical details,” said Rao, a neuroscientist and engineer who leads Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Products Group (AIPG) at Intel. “Race car driving is about skill, but also about complex engineering and figuring out how to make the car perform better. There’s a very technical aspect to it that I like.”

Racing cars is meditative for Rao; it helps him think. And he’s got a lot to think about. The multimillion dollar deal that brought him to Intel put him in charge of building artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that transform how businesses operate and how people engage with the world.

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Charlotte Marek

Charlotte takes great interest in new technologies and the startup world and believes that with the right innovations we can change the world we live in for the best. She is also greatly interested in the publishing sector. She speaks French, English, Spanish, studies Italian and has had the opportunity to work in various countries over the last few years.

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