De Kai invented and built the world’s first global-scale online language translator that spawned Google Translate, Yahoo Translate, and Microsoft Bing Translator. For his pioneering contributions in AI, natural language processing, and machine learning, De Kai was honored by the Association for Computational Linguistics as one of only seventeen Founding Fellows and by Debrett’s as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong.

He speaks to philosophical questions about the fears and possibilities of new technology and how we can be empowered to shape our future. His work to bridge cultures spans artificial intelligence, cognition, language, music, creativity, ethics, society, and policy. Talks and media this year have included New York Times, cover story of Human magazine, UBS keynote with Geoffrey Hinton, Dun & Bradstreet keynote, TEDx, global news channels like NDTV and i24 News, and dozens more.

De Kai is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST and a Distinguished Research Scholar at Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute. He is an independent director of AI ethics think tank The Future Society, and was one of eight inaugural members of Google’s AI ethics council.

De Kai invented and built the world’s first global-scale online language translator that spawned Google Translate, Yahoo Translate, and Microsoft Bing Translator. For his pioneering contributions in AI, natural language processing, and machine learning, De Kai was honored by the Association for Computational Linguistics as one of only seventeen Founding Fellows and by Debrett’s as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong.

He speaks to philosophical questions about the fears and possibilities of new technology and how we can be empowered to shape our future. His work to bridge cultures spans artificial intelligence, cognition, language, music, creativity, ethics, society, and policy. Talks and media this year have included New York Times, Dun & Bradstreet, TEDx, global news channels like NDTV and i24 News, and dozens more.

De Kai is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST and a Distinguished Research Scholar at Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute. He is an independent director of AI ethics think tank The Future Society, and was one of eight inaugural members of Google’s AI ethics council.

De Kai invented and built the world’s first global-scale online language translator that spawned Google Translate, Yahoo Translate, and Microsoft Bing Translator.

For his pioneering contributions in AI, natural language processing, and machine learning, De Kai was honored by the Association for Computational Linguistics as one of only seventeen Founding Fellows and by Debrett’s as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong.

De Kai's Mission

De Kai speaks to philosophical questions about the fears and possibilities of new technology and how we can be empowered to shape our future. His work to bridge cultures spans artificial intelligence, cognition, language, music, creativity, ethics, society, and policy. Talks and media this year have included New York Times, Dun & Bradstreet, TEDx, global news channels like NDTV and i24 News, and dozens more.

De Kai is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST and a Distinguished Research Scholar at Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute. He is an independent director of AI ethics think tank The Future Society, and was one of eight inaugural members of Google’s AI ethics council.

De Kai's Profile

De Kai is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST, and Distinguished Research Scholar at Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute. He is an independent director of AI ethics think tank The Future Society.

De Kai is among only 17 scientists worldwide named by the Association for Computational Linguistics as a Founding ACL Fellow, for his pioneering contributions to machine translation and machine learning foundations of systems like the Google/Yahoo/Microsoft translators.

Recruited as founding faculty of HKUST directly from UC Berkeley, where his PhD thesis was one of the first to spur the paradigm shift toward machine learning based natural language processing technologies, he founded HKUST’s internationally funded Human Language Technology Center which launched the world’s first web translator over twenty years ago.

De Kai’s cross-disciplinary work relating music, language, intelligence, and culture centers on enabling cultures to relate, and stems from a liberal arts perspective emphasizing creativity in both technical and humanistic dimensions.

A native of St Louis, De Kai worked and traveled extensively in San Francisco, New York, Germany, Spain, China, India and Canada before joining Hong Kong’s ambitious creation of Asia’s now top-ranked HKUST.

His pioneering contributions to machine learning of the cognitive relationships between different languages led to the foundations of modern machine translation technology, with broad applications in computer music and computational musicology as well as human language processing.

During his doctoral studies in cognitive science, artificial intelligence and computational linguistics at Berkeley, he worked on seminal projects on intelligent conversational dialog agents. His PhD dissertation employing maximum entropy to model human perception and interpretation of ambiguities was one of the first to spur the paradigm shift toward today’s state-of-the-art statistical natural language processing technologies.

De Kai also holds an executive MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern University) and HKUST. His undergraduate degree at UCSD was awarded cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and won the liberal arts oriented Revelle College’s department award.

De Kai was named by Debrett’s HK 100 as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong. In 2019, Google named De Kai as one of eight inaugural members of its AI Ethics council, ATEAC (Advanced Technology External Advisory Council).

MEDIA

Tribeca Film Festival 2024

2024, Media Appearance

“How I Faked My Life with AI” @ Tribeca Film Festival

NPR - All Things Considered

2024, Media Appearance

NPR – All Things Considered – OpenAI faces new scrutiny on AI safety

Deckers Brands

2024, Keynote

Deckers Brands – Keynote

2024, Keynote

CogX Festival LA – The Toxic AI Cocktail

2024, Article

Human Magazine – Cover Feature

2024, Keynote

UBS Investment Bank – Keynote

2023, Article

New York Times – Should A.I. Accelerate? Decelerate? The Answer Is Both.

2023, Keynote

Dun & Bradstreet – Keynote

2023, Keynote, Media Appearance

NDTV @ United Nations WEDF – Keynote

2022, Talk, TEDx

TEDxSanMiguelDeAllende – The biggest fear with AI is fear itself

2019, Talk, TEDx

TEDxChiangMai – The Paradox of AI Ethics: Why Rule-based AI Ethics Will Fail

2018, Talk, TEDx

TEDxKlagenfurt – Artificial Gossips