Big Thinkers: Meet the AI Leaders Changing the Future of 3 Important Industries

UPDATED: January 17, 2024
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2024
AI leader Nick Nanton sitting in a chair with hands clasped

In the dynamic landscape of artificial intelligence, technology and innovation, a remarkable cadre of visionary individuals, often referred to as “Big Thinkers,” is reshaping the way we live, work and interact with the world. Their expertise spans diverse domains, from the ever-evolving real estate industry to the captivating world of entertainment and the critical realm of professional development. Here’s a glimpse into this new world of AI leaders where forward-thinkers are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and technology to drive innovation and push the pendulum forward.

AI leaders in the real estate revolution

In the real estate sector, the digital transformation is ushering in an era of unprecedented innovation. Big Thinkers in this field are artificial intelligence leaders leveraging AI and tech to streamline operations, enhance user experiences and even predict market trends and personal branding. They are implementing AI-driven tools to analyze vast datasets, offering invaluable insights into property valuation, location analysis and market trends. These visionaries recognize that technology can greatly enhance transparency, reduce costs and facilitate smoother transactions, ultimately benefiting both buyers and sellers.

Meet AI leader Glenn Sanford 

Glenn Sanford is the visionary founder and CEO of eXp Realty, a pioneering real estate brokerage firm known for its innovative use of technology and unique business model. Sanford’s leadership has propelled eXp Realty to new heights, redefining the real estate industry. Under his guidance, the company has harnessed the power of virtual reality, cloud-based tools and a collaborative online platform to create a vibrant community of real estate professionals.

AI leader Glenn Sanford in front of palm trees
©Christopher Patey

Sanford worked at the executive level with a number of internet startups in the 1990s and founded eXp World Holdings, which is based in Bellingham, Washington, in 2008.¹ The company went public on the Nasdaq in February 2018—consequently revenue grew 84% to $1.8 billion in 2020. Sanford’s commitment to transparency, growth and empowering agents has made eXp Realty a global success story, offering a revolutionary approach to real estate that is redefining industry standards.

What Sanford has to say

“In the foreseeable future, the integration of AI promises to simplify rather than complicate our lives,” Sanford tells SUCCESS. “Currently, we find ourselves immersed in a world inundated with information courtesy of big data. At eXp Realty, we operate in a fully cloud-based environment, comprising over 88,000 real estate professionals and 2,400 staff, all of whom work remotely.

“Our forward-looking approach has led us to incorporate AI bots within eXp, providing our agents with invaluable assistance in dealing with various aspects of their transactions. Looking ahead, we envision a landscape where AI significantly streamlines the transaction process for agents, where AI systems will handle certain administrative tasks that will make the daily operations of a real estate agent’s business much more efficient.

“These AI systems will simulate the ‘meeting of the minds,’ much like agents do today, facilitating seamless communication between agents and clients. This transition will underscore the growing importance of AI in enhancing the relationships between consumers and the brokerage—making for a ‘win-win’ scenario for everyone involved.

“For consumers, AI will provide a deeper understanding of a property’s condition, required repairs, contractor costs and the urgency of specific fixes. This shift will usher in a more precise and predictable era, reducing the speculative aspects of property-related decisions.

“At the end of the day, I believe that the growing influence of AI in our lives signifies a move toward streamlining, simplifying and enhancing various processes, particularly within the real estate industry. While there is still skepticism about data privacy and AI integration within our society at large, the benefits and innovations that AI brings to our professional lives and everyday experiences are undeniable. The future appears promising as we adapt to an AI-influenced world, making our lives easier, more efficient and more informed.”

Leaders in artificial intelligence forging the entertainment evolution

The entertainment industry has witnessed a paradigm shift in recent years, largely thanks to the influence of tech-savvy creatives pushing the boundaries in production and media output. According to AI leaders, innovations in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality are transforming how we consume and create entertainment content. These visionaries are at the forefront of immersive storytelling experiences, utilizing AI to personalize content recommendations and predict audience preferences. The development of AI-driven animation and special effects is revolutionizing film and gaming industries, while virtual reality is taking us to new dimensions of interactive storytelling.

Meet AI leader Nick Nanton

Nick Nanton is a renowned Emmy Award-winning director and producer, celebrated for his exceptional work in the world of film and television. With an illustrious career spanning several decades, Nanton has created compelling documentaries, television series and feature films that have captivated audiences worldwide. His commitment to storytelling and dedication to his craft have earned him accolades and recognition throughout the entertainment industry.

Nick Nanton leader in AI sitting in a director's chair
Photo courtesy of Rust and Rebel

A natural-born storyteller, Nanton’s distinctive ability to bring stories to life on screen and his passion for sharing diverse narratives have solidified his status as a visionary filmmaker and a respected figure in the field of entertainment. According to TV personality and host of the show Larry King Live on CNN, “Nick Nanton is America’s biographer. He is the voice of a new generation.”

What Nanton has to say

“I envision AI as a tool for creating more immersive and meaningful connections,” Nanton tells SUCCESS. “However, there are ethical considerations that demand our attention. For example, if I use AI in a conversation without disclosing its presence, does that compromise the sincerity of our interaction? The key lies in responsible usage, where we focus on enhancing our endeavors. Thoughtfulness is crucial.

“In my world, AI offers a cost-effective way for independent filmmakers to test ideas and bring creativity to life. However, we must establish clear boundaries, recognizing that we are all navigating uncharted territory. Similar to authenticating a piece of memorabilia, the presumption could be that content is artificial unless verified. I think we should learn to employ AI to better ourselves, fostering improved communication and authenticity, rather than manipulation.

“The potential of AI to foster more immersive, authentic and relationship-driven interactions is immense. It’s vital that we use this technology responsibly, with a focus on improvement and authenticity.

“As AI becomes an integral part of our daily lives, it will serve as a powerful authenticity filter. It will help us distinguish between real and artificially generated content. It will become an extension of our DNA and will alert us to anything that lacks authenticity. In other words, we must acknowledge its existence and adapt, working collectively to define acceptable standards and reap the benefits it has to offer.

“The path forward involves acknowledging AI’s reality and leveraging its potential to enhance our lives and relationships. By setting standards and ethical guidelines, we can ensure that AI contributes positively to our world and becomes an invaluable tool for personal and professional growth—particularly in entertainment, music, and so on. Anywhere we touch other people’s lives in a significant way.”

Leaders in AI pushing professional development progress

In the professional development arena, innovative speakers, message drivers and change agents are reshaping the way we acquire new skills and knowledge. Online platforms and digital learning tools have gained immense popularity, and these experts are spearheading the integration of AI to enhance learning outcomes. Adaptive learning systems powered by AI can assess individual learners’ strengths and weaknesses, tailoring content to meet their specific needs. This personalized approach accelerates skill development, paving the way for career growth and innovation in the workforce.

Meet AI leader Peter Diamandis 

Peter Diamandis is an entrepreneur, author, innovator and philanthropist, who is committed to building a future of abundance through innovation and technology. As the founder of the XPRIZE Foundation and Singularity University, he’s dedicated his career to pushing the boundaries of human potential. His groundbreaking work has led to breakthroughs in various industries, from space travel to health care. Diamandis’ passion for accelerating progress and solving global challenges through innovation has earned him widespread recognition and numerous awards. He is a true visionary, inspiring others to dream big, embrace technology and make the world a better place through their pursuits.

©John D. Russell Photography

Diamandis has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital and education. He is co-founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $500 million investing in exponential technologies, and co-founder and vice chairman of Celularity Inc., a cellular therapeutics company. Diamandis’ mission through his keynotes and speaking engagements is to help his audiences understand the pace and implications of exponential technology and how to drive innovation within their organizations.

What Diamandis has to say

“I believe AI is not a threat but a tool, one that will redefine our professional landscape,” Diamandis tells SUCCESS. “It’s not about job displacement; it’s about job transformation. The key lies in lifelong learning, staying curious and constantly updating our skills. Remember, the best way to predict the future is to create it.

“AI is our next evolutionary step. It will revolutionize every industry, create unprecedented efficiencies and solve complex problems. It will be integrated into our daily lives, making it seamless, invisible. It’s not about machines taking over, it’s about augmenting human potential. AI is a tool, and we’re in control of how we wield it.

“In order to embrace AI, start by being passionately curious. Immerse yourself in online learning platforms like MOOCs. Attend tech meetups, hackathons and start-up events. Find mentors in the tech space. Read voraciously about emerging technologies. Experiment, fail, learn, repeat. Remember, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely!

“Keep one eye on the competition, but focus on creating unique, massive value. Be obsessively customer-centric. Innovate constantly. Surround yourself with a brilliant team. Embrace technology. Remember, the day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. Be bold, take risks and never stop learning. Success is the relentless pursuit of a compelling vision.

“We’re living in an age of rapid, exponential growth. AI and advanced technologies are not just impacting businesses, they’re transforming them at lightning speed. It’s like drinking from a fire hose. Those who adapt and learn to harness these technologies will have unprecedented opportunities. It’s truly the most exciting time to be alive.”

Leading toward positive change

What’s striking about these Big Thinkers is the interconnectivity of their endeavors. They understand that AI and technology transcend individual industries, offering vast opportunities for collaboration and mutual advancement. Real estate experts can tap into entertainment-inspired virtual property tours, while entertainment professionals can benefit from AI-enhanced marketing strategies developed by professional development specialists. These cross-industry collaborations lead to a synergistic exchange of ideas and innovations.

At the end of the day, their expertise transcends traditional boundaries and fosters collaborations that accelerate progress in these industries. As we continue to explore the advancements from these visionary individuals, we can expect a future that is not only shaped by technological marvels, but also by the boundless creativity and innovative thinking of these trailblazers.

Together, these AI leaders are shaping a world where AI and technology are not just tools, but also transformative agents of positive change. 

¹ Editorial note: SUCCESS Enterprises is a subsidiary of eXp World Holdings.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of SUCCESS Magazine. Photo by ©Christopher Patey.

Kerrie Lee Brown is an international journalist, author and women's health advocate. Over the years, she has written for more than 150 publications worldwide and held numerous executive and senior editorial roles across Canada and the U.S. She has interviewed a plethora of Hollywood celebrities and some of the most inspiring thought leaders around the globe. Today, Kerrie Lee is the editor-in-chief of SUCCESS Enterprises' impressive magazine portfolio and an advocate for authentic storytelling as the founder of