Where does AI come from? Summary of “Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence”

As a technical people, we usually see AI solutions as a bunch of really smart algorithms operating on statistical models, doing nonlinear computations. In general something extremely abstract, what its roots in programming languages.
But, as “neural network” term may suggest, many of those solutions are inspired by biology, primarily biological brain.

Some time ago, DeepMind researchers published paper: Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence, where they highlighted some AI techniques which directly or indirectly come from neuroscience. I will try to sum it up, but if you would like to read full version, it can be found under this link:

https://deepmind.com/documents/113/Neuron.pdf

Roots of AI

One of many definitions describes AI as hypothetical intelligence, created not by nature but artificially, in the engineering process. One of the goals of it is to create human-level, General Artificial Intelligence. Many people argue if such an intelligence is even possible, but there is one thing which proves it: it’s a human brain.

It seems natural that neuroscience is used as a guide or an inspiration for new types of architectures and algorithms. Biological computation very often works better than mathematical and logic-based methods, especially when it comes to cognitive functions.
Moreover, if current, still far-from-ideal AI techniques can be found as a core of brain functioning, it’s pretty likely that in some time in the future engineering effort pays off.
At the end, neuroscience can be also a good validation for existing AI solutions.

In current AI research, there are two key fields which took root in neuroscience — Reinforcement Learning (learning by taking actions in the environment to maximise reward) and Deep Learning (learning from examples such as a training set which correlates data with labels). Continue readingWhere does AI come from? Summary of “Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence”

Google Home at home 🏠

Voice interfaces are slowly showing up in our lives. In most cases, they replace complexity of mobile devices. But there are also new features which do make sense only when they are used just with our voice.

To see quick summary where Google is with its Google Assistant take a look at this video from last Google Developers Day (starting from 33:00):

Continue reading “Google Home at home 🏠”

3 great TED talks about Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is here. Still in its very limited form, but there are more and more places where we, as a humanity are soundly bitten by “intelligent” machines. From the simplest calculators which are hugely smarter than us in maths, to Google Translate which can translate whole sentences, keeping proper grammar and human-like language better than most people in the world.

Yes, AI will take our jobs, it already does. But should we be afraid of it? I believe, we shouldn’t. Instead, we need to adapt to the new reality as it happened many times in humankind history (agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, digital revolution — just name a few).

Some call it another revolution (4th industrial revolution?), some just an evolution which has been happening since the world began. But no matter how you call it, thanks to machines and different kinds of artificial intelligence we’ll for sure reach a new level as a humanity. There is so big potential in us — we all have passion, purpose, dreams.

Now just imagine what can happen to the world when there will be something that can replace us with tedious, repeatable tasks. Or if we could boost our creativity and passion by a help from machines and algorithms which are never distracted and can work unstoppable.

Of course, the transition to “the new world” will be hard. Adaptation will require revolutionary, global changes in how we live. And to start doing this we need to understand where we are and what is coming.
There are already people in this world who are trying to do this. Here are 3 of them, standing in front of us on TED stage and telling us about future of AI and humanity. I highly encourage to invest 45mins to catch-up what they wanted to share with us:

Throwback Thursday – building mobile app

About one year ago I had a privilege to share my experience with mobile dev community at Mobiconf conference in Cracow. Because of my introvert nature, it was a big personal challenge to stand next to a couple meters high screen and talk to the international audience. I also don’t like to watch my video recordings, but having in mind the message which I wanted to share, I believe that it’s good to remind this particular one from time to time.

As developers (and engineering team leaders) it is always good to remember what is the biggest value we can give to the company. In a time of data driven development, where companies constantly learn about their users and try to adjust the product to meet expectations I believe that the most important thing is the ability to iterate fast. To bring new value in the smallest release cycles with a product free of bugs.

And this is what my presentation is about. Why we should test, use dependency injection or automate delivery process. I show Android app as an example, but the same rules can be applied to iOS or any other client side platform.

Here is video recording from my talk:

(Book) Walt Disney

I’ve just finished another great biography: Walt Disney: An American Original.

The book about a great dreamer, creator of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. This is American story about a poor kid living on the farm who became a millionaire, but who never measured his wealth by the amount of collected money. For Walt Disney money was just a tool to accomplish his master plan – to entertain people.

Disney dedicated his life to do it. And there was always something else to do to make the world better. Disney movie production, Disneyland, Disney World and never finished the prototype of the city of tomorrow: EPCOT. He was realizing his plan by the last days of his life.

Walt wasn’t cryonically frozen as the biggest urban legend about him tells us. He’s not coming back. But his legacy will live with us for the centuries, for sure!

Udacity + Google scholarships for digital skills

Today, during Google Developers Day in Kraków, we could see Google Developers + Udacity cooperation announcement which brings us 60 000 seats in their online courses (Web developer and Android developer, 30k seats in each one). The scholarship is dedicated to residents of Europe, Russia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. All accepted students will have an opportunity to learn coding Android or Web during 3-months course with a help from Udacity and Google mentors.

Web and Android Scholarship Program

10% of the best ones will have an opportunity to take a part in Nanodegree program for free, which ends with certification and a great chance to find a real job in the picked area.

As a former student of Udacity Nanodegree program (Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree in my case), I can only say: thank you Google, thank you Udacity! This amazing initiative with high-quality materials will bring tons of value for IT industry all over the world:

  • For students and future developers who will have a chance to learn how to build a real product from experts working with those technologies on daily basis,
  • For employers who will have a chance to hire well motivated junior devs with practical experience and great will to gain new skills,
  • For entire IT industry (including Google, Udacity and others), because more IT specialist means faster growth this area,
  • And for the people all around the world. Online and cheap/free access to knowledge means that there are much fewer limitations for those who have a great will to learn and want to be professionals in the future.

Let’s build bridges, not walls.

The Keyword — Funding 75,000 Udacity scholarships to bridge the digital skills gap.

Daily Writing

This is my second day of the daily writing challenge. Still not sure how far I’ll go but I’m well motivated to give a try. Why? Because I’d like to try if it works, what are the profits and most important – because finally, I can! As non-native English speaker, I spent a lot of time practicing this language (including written form). And It seems that finally in less than 30 minutes, with no (or a little) help of Google Translate, I can produce something meaningful.

Besides various motivations, mostly from medium.com, my biggest motivations are: Tobias van Schneider with his weekly emails and daily blog by Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who’s been writing every day since 2003 (14 years!).

Currently, I have no plan behind this – no reminder, no dedicated time during the day. I would like to see how natural it’s for me.
I’m writing at Google Docs, post by post. Subject? One, the most prominent thing from my head. Goal? Write at least 6 posts per week. If I can’t make it, I’ll think about more strict rules and long term plan.

Quote of the day:

Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate. (source)

Basic Android app analytics in <60min One step towards data-driven development

Every big tech company today is data-driven. Products are more often built based on collected data rather than internal opinions. It’s very likely that in this moment some of apps on your device are serving you A/B test variants, checking how: new layout, text or even functionality affect your activity and engagement.
The biggest companies have dedicated Business Intelligence teams, their own data warehouses, custom analytics tools and big flat screens in conference rooms showing realtime charts.
And the most important — endless audience waiting to be analysed by pie charts or bars 📊.

Continue readingBasic Android app analytics in <60min One step towards data-driven development

WWDC17 The most important announcements in Apple world

WWDC17, the 3rd most important product/technology conference of 2017 happening in Silicon Valley (McEnery Convention Center in San Jose).
After Facebook F8 and Google I/O, this time we could see Tim Cook and the Apple’s team showing us what’s new and what the future holds for us in the world of Macs, iPhones, smartwatches and other  products. If you didn’t have spare 2hrs of your time to see Keynote, let me walk you through the most interesting things presented this year. Continue readingWWDC17 The most important announcements in Apple world