Machine Learning & Deep Learning 101

 

Need a primer? Here’s what you need to know about AI’s most buzzed-about fields

The term “artificial intelligence” has been around since the 1950s, but it’s taken more than half a century for it to finally have a transformative impact on everyday life.

But why? And why now? The short answer is that we finally have computers that are strong enough, data that is extensive enough, and learning models that are advanced enough to power the rapid growth of intelligent machines.

Andrew Ng, chief scientist at China’s search giant Baidu and one of the heads of the Google Brain project, put the recent AI explosion in easy-to-understand terms: “I think AI is akin to building a rocket ship. You need a huge engine and a lot of fuel,” he told Wired Magazine. “If you have a large engine and a tiny amount of fuel, you won’t make it to orbit. If you have a tiny engine and a ton of fuel, you can’t even lift off. To build a rocket you need a huge engine and a lot of fuel.”

But before we rocket off to space, let’s look at two of the most talked-about areas of AI back here on earth: machine learning and its subset, deep learning.

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BlockChains - The Basics

BitCoins, digital currencies and Blockchain are all over the news these days. Is this a good thing and what's it all mean? This article discusses the basics of the technology and how it may affect the way we all do business in the relative near future. 

Blockchain—a digital ledger shared across a computer network. So what is blockchain, why is it generating so much buzz, and what does it mean for your business both now and in the future? Here’s a crash course.

What is blockchain?

First implemented to conduct transactions using the digital currency bitcoin, a blockchain is a digital ledger, distributed across a global network of computers, which permanently records digital transactions. Bitcoin isn’t saved in a file somewhere; it’s represented by transactions recorded in a blockchain—sort of like a global spreadsheet. Every 10 minutes, all transactions conducted are verified, cleared, and stored in a block that is linked to the preceding block, creating a chain. Each block must refer to the preceding block in order to be valid.

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A Guide to Better Virtual Meetings

 

Thanks to advancements in conferencing technology, your business can connect with customers, employees, and contractors all over the world. Successful collaboration with dispersed teams requires virtual meetings that run smoothly and enable easy communication—something that is not always easy to achieve.

We've all experienced virtual meetings plagued by technical difficulties, sound problems, and gaffes. Follow these six steps to make sure your next conference call or video chat goes off without a hitch.

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Artificial Intelligence Basics

Despite the grave warnings from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) apocalyse hasn't arrived quite yet.

AI, however, is advancing in new ways to help us. From predicting earthquakes to improving cancer diagnoses, here are AI’s latest futuristic advances—plus the one that can help your business right now.

So what is AI, anyway?

You already know the Hollywood examples, from HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Borg in Star Trek, and Skynet in the Terminator. But real-life AI isn’t quite that advanced yet (and, fortunately, not as bad-tempered either). AI falls into two basic camps: Strong AI and Weak AI. Strong AI is programming that can mimic the way the human mind works—and it doesn’t exist yet. Weak AI are systems that can behave like humans, but they don’t operate like a human brain. However, there are weak AI systems that are approaching an “in-between” level—ones that are inspired by human reasoning even if they don’t quite work the same way—and that’s where the most exciting research is happening right now.  

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Could you be fooled by a robot on the phone?

The prospect of artificial intelligences (AIs) that can get away with fooling humans is leading experts to question whether it's time to regulate telemarketing phone calls from robots.

Wendell Wallach, author of A Dangerous Master and senior adviser to The Hastings Center, says new laws may be needed as the lines between humans and simulations of human activity get blurred.

"If you're basically intelligent you still should be able to deduce when you're talking with a bot," he says. "But perhaps that space is closing more quickly than we would think. I wonder whether we're going to need to signal that it's not a human."

Wallach believes it could still be some time before an AI could phone you up and dupe you into thinking it was a person for long. "There'll be all kinds of inversions of grammar," he says.

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