Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang told recent graduates at National Taiwan University that they have good timing, starting their careers at the rebirth of the computer industry with boundless opportunities in artificial intelligence.
The timing is parallel, he said, to the world he entered when he graduated 40 years ago at the dawn of the PC revolution.
During his commencement speech in Taipei before 10,000 graduates, Huang talked about three big failures he endured on his way to building Nvidia, the world’s most valuable listed semiconductor company and a major supplier of chips and computing systems for artificial intelligence.
Huang started his company 30 years ago as a three-person gaming graphics startup. Nvidia had 26,196 employees on Jan. 29, 2023, up 16.57 percent compared to the previous year.
“In 40 years, we created the PC, internet, mobile, cloud, and now the AI era. What will you create?” he asked. “Whatever it is, run after it like we did. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food or you are running from being food.”
With a $997.28 billion market cap, Nvidia is on its way to becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar semiconductor stock, bypassing Meta, Tesla, and Berkshire Hathaway in value. The California-based chipmaker forecasts sales of $11 billion in the second quarter of 2023 — more than 50 percent higher than what analysts expected, Fortune reported. Huang described “incredible orders” as data centers look to become AI capable.
Born in southern Taiwan, Huang emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was a child. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1984, when the Apple Macintosh debuted, helping set off a revolution in personal computing.
After working as a microprocessor designer at Advanced Micro Devices, Huang co-founded Nvidia in 1993.
The year 1984 was a “perfect year to graduate,” Huang said, “and I predict that 2023 will be as well.”
In 2023, Huang said, graduates will join the workforce just as A.I. has “reinvented computing from the ground up. In every way this is the rebirth of the computer industry.”
At Nvidia, Huang said he experienced failures — “great big ones. All humiliating and embarrassing. Many nearly doomed us.”
With a real-time net worth of $34.9 billion, Huang said “A.I. has opened immense opportunities. Agile companies will take advantage of A.I. and boost their position,” while firms that don’t will not survive. He urged graduates to “take advantage of A.I. and do amazing things with an A.I. copilot by your side.”
A.I. will create “new jobs that didn’t exist before,” he said, such as AI data engineering, AI prompt engineering, AI factory operations, and AI safety engineering.
He acknowledged that automated tasks will make some jobs obsolete, “and for sure, AI will change every job, supercharging the performance of programmers, designers, artists, marketers.”
Days after delivering his commencement speech, Huang warned that the traditional tech industry would not keep pace with AI’s advances, saying the technology has dramatically lowered the barrier of entry to computer coding.
“We have reached the tipping point of a new computing era,” Huang said at the Computex conference in Taiwan. AI now allows anyone to create programs simply by plugging in commands. “Everyone is a programmer now. You just have to say something to the computer,” he said, describing the combination of accelerated computing and generative AI as “a reinvention from the ground up.”
Nvidia’s share price has increased 172 percent since the beginning of 2023 when Open AI’s ChatGPT gave investors an appetite for generative AI, Business Insider reported.
Demand has skyrocketed for Nvidia’s data center chips, including the H100, an advanced graphics processor unit (GPU) that substantially cuts the time required to train large language models such as ChatGPT.
Huang also announced a new AI supercomputer platform called DGX GH200 to help tech companies build generative AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Meta, Microsoft and Google Cloud are among the first clients expected to access the supercomputer.
And Huang introduced a new powerful GPU for gaming and an AI platform for developers to create games with online avatars that mimic players’ behaviors. “This is the future of video games,” he said. “AI will contribute to the rendering and synthesis of the environment, but it will also animate the characters.”