The 2020 Top Technologists and Influencers in Voice – Part II of the 68 Top Leaders in Voice

Yesterday, we introduced you to the first half of the 68 Top Leaders in Voice AI for 2020. Those 34 visionaries and the design and product pros are joined today by another 34 technologists and influencers that are moving the industry forward. The methodology was the same for all four award categories. Honorees were selected from hundreds of candidates and 250 were scored by our panel of judges based on their current impact on the voice AI industry. We are very thankful that our nine judges took such care in providing input on this year’s list.

The Technologists and Influencers

Our 2019 list included eleven honorees in the technologist and influencer categories and we were able to expand that to seventeen each for 2020. This allows us to recognize many more people that are making a difference in our rapidly growing industry. Rohit Prasad of Amazon and Brad Abrams from Google make repeat appearances toward the top of our list but the top spot this year is a new entrant. Ilya Sutskever is the chief scientist and co-founder of OpenAI. Sutskever might not have been an obvious candidate for the top spot given many people in our industry don’t follow the leading researchers, but when you consider that he has over 200,000 research journal citations for his work and OpenAI introduced GPT-3 this year, the inclusion becomes obvious. The leaders in voice are shaping how the industry is evolving and Sutskever’s work is having a big influence on where we are headed.

On the influencer front, we again have an expanded list and it includes the product and services heads over voice assistants and related devices for Baidu, Amazon, and Google. The shepherds of these services and devices are creating the context in which so many of the other influencers on our list operate and we wanted to acknowledge their contribution to the industry. This year, we also saw Joan Palmiter Bajorek jump up several spots based on the popularity of Women in Voice which just celebrated its two-year anniversary. There are many other honorees which you are sure to recognize ranging from Dr. Teri Fisher and Brian Roemmele to Pete Erickson and Bradley Metrock. Many well-qualified candidates just missed out this year. If we had infinite time, the list could have definitely been longer.

See the List

68 Leaders in Voice AI in 4 Categories

Below are the top three leaders in each category. Be sure to click through to each category to see the full list and read the bios of each honoree.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Sudar Pichai, Google
Keyvan Mohajer, SoundHound

Others include Cerence, Soapbox Labs, Sensory…


Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI
Rohit Prasad, Amazon
Brad Abrams, Google

Others include Jovo, Audio Analytic, BBC…


Cathy Pearl, Google
Adva Levin, Pretzel Labs
Mark Webster, Adobe

Others include Amazon, Apple, Mayo Clinic…


Jing Kun, Baidu
Dave Limp, Amazon
Rick Osterloh, Google

Others include #VoiceLunch, VUX World, Women In Voice…


Help Us Make Our Top Leaders Project Even Better in 2021

It is definitely hard to draw the line on any list that honors professionals. Many people make big contributions to this industry every day and fall just outside of the final list. We did our best to include more people this year and gathered hundreds of submissions for candidates. I hope that next year we can do even better.

Many thanks go out to our nine judges including Zohaib Ahmed of Resemble AI, Jochen Emig from ONSEI, Maarten Lens-FitzGerald from Project Zilver and the Open Voice Newsletter, Brielle Nickoloff of Botmock, Katherine Prescott from VoiceBrew, independent design and product strategist Ben Sauer, Eric Schwartz of, and a couple of other industry professionals that were generous with their time.

Congratulations to all of the 2020 honorees. Each of them is deserving of recognition for their contributions. If you disagree with people on the list, want to advocate for those that didn’t make it this year, or want to haggle about the order, we welcome the feedback, debate, and honest discussion. Tag us on Twitter @bretkinsella or and we are happy to engage.

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