April 25, 2017

Emergent // Future - Facebook's AI Research, Google's speech recognition and more

Issue 49
This week we check out Facebook's pursuit to create computers with intelligence on par with humans, how Google's opening access to its speech recognition software, Amazon's Lex is now available to any developer building conversational bots, and more. Plus our favorite reads and some projects to try at home. 

Meet Yann LeCun.

The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research — known as FAIR — is focused on a singular goal: to create computers with intelligence on par with humans.

FAIR is improving computers’ ability to see, hear, and communicate on their own, and the group's learnings are permeating all of Facebook’s products, from the News Feed to cameras and photo filters. And Facebook is investing, big time.

This is all led by Yann LeCun, a 56-year-old academic who's once-rejected theories about artificial intelligence are now considered world-class.

While still far from its finish line, the group is making the sort of progress few believed possible just 15 years ago.

Hello Google.

You might have heard… Google’s cloud clients now have full access to its speech recognition software.

The latest software is more accurate, allowing for wider adoption from transcription to voice commands, it's faster, and works with more file formats. Google is engaged in an arm’s race with Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

But did you know? Amazon Lex, the technology behind Alexa, is now open to developers. The system uses natural language understanding technology and speech recognition to empower developers who want to build their own conversational applications, like chatbots.

What We’re Reading

  • How does Quora use machine learning in 2017? The machine learning lead at Quora walks through all the different parts of the product and explains how they use ML. (Quora)
  • We thought knowledge was about finding the order hidden in the chaos. We thought it was about simplifying the world. It looks like we were wrong. Knowing the world may require giving up on understanding it. (Backchannel)
  • Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future. Elon’s new venture somehow manages to eclipse Tesla and SpaceX. While the other two companies aim to redefine what future humans will do—Neuralink wants to redefine what future humans will be. (Wait But Why)
  • The Story of Getting SSH Port 22. The basic process for port allocation was fairly simple at that time. Internet was smaller and we were in the very early stages of the Internet boom. (SSH)
  • Caffe2 Open Source Brings Cross Platform Machine Learning Tools to Developers. Training and deploying AI models is often associated with massive data centers or super computers, with good reason. The ability to continually process, create, and improve models from all kinds of information: images, video, text, and voice, at massive scale, is no small computing feat. (Caffe2)

Things to Try at home

Emergent // Future is a weekly, hand-curated dispatch exploring technology through the lens of artificial intelligence, data science, and the shape of things to come. 

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Matt Kiser

Matt Kiser

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