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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang says 2023 is a ‘perfect year to graduate’ thanks to A.I.

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Timing is everything. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang told graduates this weekend that, thanks to opportunities in artificial intelligence, they are starting their careers at a great time.

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Nvidia’s market cap neared $1 trillion this week—leaving the likes of Meta, Tesla, and Berkshire Hathaway in the dust—after the California-based chipmaker reported a stronger-than-expected quarter and forecast sales of $11 billion in the coming quarter, over 50% higher than what analysts expected. Huang described “incredible orders” as data centers looked to become A.I. capable.

On Saturday in Taipei, in a keynote speech at National Taiwan University’s commencement ceremony, Huang said that he, too, benefited from good timing. After spending part of his childhood in Taiwan, he graduated from Oregon State University in 1984, when the debut of the Apple Macintosh helped spark a revolution in personal computing.

1984 was a "perfect year to graduate," he said, "and I predict that 2023 will be as well."

In 2023, he continued, 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.”

“A.I. has opened immense opportunities,” the billionaire CEO continued. “Agile companies will take advantage of A.I. and boost their position,” while firms that don’t will perish. Graduates must “take advantage of A.I. and do amazing things with an A.I. copilot by your side,” he added.

A.I. will create “new jobs that didn’t exist before,” such as prompt engineering, A.I. factory operations, and A.I. safety engineers, he said. He acknowledged that some jobs will be lost to automation, but added that while people fret about losing their job to A.I., they might actually lose it to someone who’s become more expert at using A.I.

Huang urged graduates to “have the humility to confront failure and admit a mistake,” telling them they would “endure pain and suffering.” He described “humiliating and embarrassing” failures he suffered in Nvidia’s early days. For example, Nvidia realized at one point that its “technically poor” architecture was the “wrong strategy,” but it had already won a contract with Sega to help make a new gaming console using it.

“We had to stop, but I needed Sega to pay us in whole or Nvidia would be out of business. I was embarrassed to ask,” he explained, but to his amazement Sega’s CEO agreed, giving Nvidia “six months to survive.”

Nvidia did survive, becoming a key player first in the gaming industry and now in artificial intelligence.

With the A.I. era here, Huang urged graduates to “run after it like we did. Run, don’t walk.”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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