May 1, 2024 - Economy

AI leaders top 2024 Gold House A100 List

Photo illustration of Ziad Ahmed, Saweetie, Hoa Xuande, Jensen Huang, Rachell Hofstetter aka Valkyrae,  Ali Wong, and Anish Melwani lined up surrounded by star graphics.

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photos: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Gold House & 1497, Gilbert Flores/WWD, Steve Granitz/FilmMagic, Annabelle Chih/Bloomberg, Paul Citone/Variety, Amanda Edwards, Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang, Stanford's Fei-Fei Li ("the Godmother of AI") and OpenAI chief strategy officer Jason Kwon are among this year's Gold House A100 List honorees.

Why it matters: The list is published annually to coincide with the start of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and recognizes individuals of Asian Pacific heritage who have had a significant impact on American culture and society.

  • Selection was based on votes by "1,500 of the community's foremost leaders," as well as other "cultural tastemakers" including the head of TED, Chris Anderson and Time magazine CEO Jessica Sibley, Gold House CEO and co-founder Bing Chen told Axios.

Zoom in: "[AI] is a place where we've had existing leadership but further cemented it," said Chen.

  • This year, $13 billion startup Scale AI's founder and CEO Alexandr Wang, Salesforce AI CEO Clara Shih and Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian are also named in the business and technology category.
  • AMD CEO Lisa Su, who has been on prior A100 lists, is being inducted into the hall of fame.
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai have been previously named to the A100.

The big picture: Highlighting outsized success stories from the Asian community can play directly into the model minority myth, which stereotypes Americans of Asian descent as hardworking and high-achieving.

  • While 42% of the companies that went public in the last two years in the U.S. had an Asian co-founder, Asian Americans are the least likely to be promoted into management and continue to be the most economically disparate, Chen noted.

What they're saying: "We have 5 billion people in our community, and this is only 100 of them. So to say that 100 people speak for 5 billion is just lopsided math," he said.

  • "We're really proud of these 100 and we do think they represent across their industries and communities among the very best, but certainly they're not comprehensive of the holistic experience."

The intrigue: The overall list this year is younger and also more diverse than past years, in terms of ethnic groups and industries represented, according to Chen.

  • The trend speaks to the role technology plays in enabling people with less capital to start new ventures.
  • Live-streamer Rachell Marie Hofstetter, known online as Valkyrae, for example is on the list this year.
  • Ziad Ahmed, a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and whose company was acquired recently by United Talent Agency, was among a handful of people named to the rising leaders category.

What to watch: U.S. landmarks, including both the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center in New York, will be lit up in gold as part of Gold House's Gold Lights initiative in honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

  • The gold light represents timeless quality and endurance — a direct response to stereotypes that the Asian Pacific diaspora is "cheap" or "weak," the organization says.
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