Monday, December 11, 2017

Mozilla’s Open Source Speech Recognition Model and Voice Dataset

Mozilla has just announced the initial release of Mozilla's open source speech recognition model that has an accuracy approaching what humans can perceive when listening to the same recordings. They are also releasing the world's second-largest publicly available voice dataset, which was contributed to by nearly 20,000 people globally. This looks like it will be a very useful resource for researchers.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Republicans are about to kill the open internet and this town will pay the price

You've probably heard of "net neutrality" but maybe unsure what it is. Put simply it's the idea that every packet of information crossing the Internet has equal priority. Whether you're watching Netflix, listening to Spotify or playing Minecraft all the data is treated equally. Some people who argue for the "free market" claim that Internet service providers (ISPs) should be allowed to prioritise data from certain sources and to specific customers, of course for a fee. Apple, which has huge cash reserves, could for example pay ISPs to prioritise data from Apple Music giving users a better service at no visible cost to them. However, many argue that this would go against the founding principles of the Internet. To see what the future may hold in an unequal Internet look no further than the small rural town of Winlock, Washington – where the Internet is dead slow, if available at all – the residents their are major proponents of net neutrality and argue the Internet is a basic necessity. The Guardian has an interesting article on this.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Computers in the kitchen

Is there nowhere now that computers aren't being used? You'd have thought perhaps that the kitchen would be relatively free of computers. Well, you'd be wrong. Recent innovations in 3D printing are letting innovate chefs create wonderful looking (and hopefully great tasting) dishes. This website illustrates some of the fabulous things that can be made from 3D printers and computer-assisted lathes.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Which machine learning algorithm should I use?

Which machine learning (ML) algorithm should I use? It's a common question I get asked and usually, once I know something about the application and the data I can make an educated guess: a clustering algorithm, a neural net, k-nearest neighbour... But, I've been working in ML for decades. For ML newbies this is a hard problem because there are so many ML algorithms to choose between. SAS have created a resource designed primarily for beginner to intermediate data scientists or analysts who are interested in identifying and applying machine learning algorithms to address the problems of their interest. Read their blog post to learn how to navigate their flow chart.



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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Machine learning: the power and promise of computers that learn by example

Machine Learning is becoming more important in many aspects of our daily lives. However, most of the general public and importantly politicians and policymakers are quite ignorant of its scope, strengths and weaknesses. To better inform people the UK's prestigious Royal Society has recently released a report titled Machine learning: the power and promise of computers that learn by example.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Elon Musk leads 116 experts calling for outright ban of killer robots

I recently come back from the IJCAI-17 conference in Melbourne. 2,000 of the worlds leading AI researchers gathered together to share their latest research and discuss the future. One of the first things the conference did was to release an open letter to the world's media. The open letter, signed by Tesla chief and Google's Mustafa Suleyman, urges UN to block use of lethal autonomous weapons to prevent third age of war Some of the world's leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Diversity in Computer Science

Google has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. It started when one of their software engineers wrote a blog post that argued that the reason why relatively few woman worked for Google was because men were kind of biologicaly better suited to coding. Once the blogger was identified Google fired him. He's now suing the company for infringing his freedom of speach. 60 female Google employees are considering suing as well, claiming sexism and a pay gap. The Guardian has written an article titled "Why are there so few women in tech? The truth behind the Google memo". 

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Friday, August 4, 2017

"A new study shows..."

Apparently "A new study shows..." are the four most dangerous words in science. A fascinating article in Wired profiles John Arnold, a billionaire who is spending his fortune on the Reproducibility Project. What they are finding, somewhat worryingly, is that the majority of published research can't be reproduced. They argue that the current competitive and often se cretive science model is flawed and that science should be more open and collaborative. It's hard to disagree.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Monday, July 24, 2017

What are the algorithms that affect your life?

My colleague, Mark Wilson, brought this news article to my attention; by the ABC titled "How algorithms make important government decisions — and how that affects you"  it describes how computer programs are legally allowed to make decisions in Australia. This is part of an ongoing series, by Simon, titled "The important algorithms we know nothing about — and why we need to know more". Some people will I imagine find this troubling.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How many alien worlds exist?

Have you ever wondered if "we" are alone in the universe, and if not how many alien civilisations may be out there? Well, you'd not be alone. In fact, there's an equation, called the Drake equation, that lets us calculate how many alien civilisations there may be. The BBC has a nice interactive graphic that lets you play with the Drake equation to calculate your own figure. There's also a gr eat TED Talk on the subject.


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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Exploding the myths of Ada Lovelace’s mathematics

There has been some debate for years as to exactly how "mathematical" Ada Lovelace actually was, with some believing her to be a mere amateur and others a gifted genius. Recent research by Christopher Hollings and Ursula Martin of Oxford Mathematics, and Adrian Rice, of Randolph-Macon College, Virginia, has investigated the archives of the Lovelace-Byron family, held in Oxford's Bodleian Library. In two recently published papers in the Journal of the British Society for the History of Mathematics and  Historia Mathematica they conclude that: "Lovelace's keen eye for detail, fascination with big questions, and flair for deep insights, which enabled her to challenge some deep assumptions in her teacher's work. They suggest that her ambition, in time, to do significant mathematical research was entirely credible, though sadly curtailed by her ill-health and early death." 

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The optimist’s guide to the robot apocalypse

There has been a lot of talk recently about the soon to happen jobs apocalypse as we are all replaced by robots and AIs (I've been guilty of adding to this). Certainly, it's true that, for example, anyone who drives for a living could lose their job as driverless vehicles take over. The same is true for many other industries and professions. However, others point out that many new and different jobs will be created. A recent article in Quartz titled The optimist's guide to the robot apocalypse makes this point very well and shows a fascinating graph that shows that whilst Amazon's robotic workforce rose from 1,400 to 45,000 their human workforce also rose, from just over 100,000 to around 350,00. The robots aren't replacing people, they're making the company more efficient. Let's hope


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