Credit where it’s due in AI – capsule networks

In the past few weeks my social feeds have been littered with articles citing “Hinton’s latest breakthrough” in AI: capsule networks.¬† Like most people in the field, I make sure I read up on what’s new, and I’m yet to see the paper‘s first author Sara Sabour, get credit for her work in all of the tertiary reviews.

A somewhat irreverent take on author list from PHD Comics, although this is broadly true ūüėČ

For those who aren’t in academia, there is a distinct order to the names on published papers either by contribution or alphabetically.¬† For contribution, the first author is the one who actually did the research, the last author is the person who runs the lab/department and any other names are listed in order of contribution.¬† Occasionally you will see notes that authors contributed equally.¬† Some subject or countries list names alphabetically, but this is not the case for this paper published on arxiv. Continue reading Credit where it’s due in AI – capsule networks

When did AI not being as good as humans be a news item?

StarCraft 2 is a big thing in e-sports – can AI live up to the human players?

I get very tired of the clickbaity journalism hyping up minor advances in AI, making news stories out of nothing or even the ones for those in the industry. You know the type:¬†“Facebook AI had to be shut down”,¬†“Google creates self learning AI”.

I demystify a lot of these when I’m asked about them – technology should be accessible and understandable and I deplore the tendency of those seeking to get article hits by over-egging with misleading headlines. What amused me over the weekend was that an AI not beating a human was a news story where the AI was “trounced”. Continue reading When did AI not being as good as humans be a news item?

The Oxbridge Myth

Photo of a typical oxbridge college
My College, St Peter’s Oxford. Photo from Wikimedia

There’s been a lot in the news recently about how Oxford and Cambridge are failing young people who are educated by the state system and how they perpetuate the elitist machine that runs the UK.¬† As ever, I’m frustrated with the polarisation of the argument perpetuated by the media, which boils down to “it’s fine” and “everything is broken”, which no room for focussing on the nuances of the problems.¬† As a state school student who went to Oxford1, I thought I’d weigh in with my own experiences and where I believe the issues are. Continue reading The Oxbridge Myth

Evidence in our AI future

Generated handwriting from the team at UCL

If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that there have been great advances in the past few years with artificial image generation, to the stage where having a picture of something does not necessarily mean that it is real.¬† Image advances are easy to talk about, as there’s something tangible to show, but there have been similar large leaps forward in other areas, particularly in voice synthesis and handwriting.

Continue reading Evidence in our AI future

Goodbye Greebo

8 months old and attached to my shoulders whenever I was home
8 months old and attached to my shoulders whenever I was home

Warning: this post contains detail of what happens when you take a cat to the vet for the last time – please do not read if this might upset you.

I never had a pet growing up.¬† With both my parents working, and a combination of allergies and phobias through the family, it just wasn’t a priority.¬† I remember asking for a puppy once and, realising that it was never going to happen, accepted the “no” at the first attempt.¬† When my husband and I first moved in together he made a case for us getting a cat – the perfect low-maintenance pet: give them love and remember to feed them, no walking or grooming, no cleaning cages or tanks, and perfectly happy being left while you’re at work.¬† I remember not being bothered either way, I’d never had a connection with a pet, but he wanted one so we got a kitten. Continue reading Goodbye Greebo

Please Don’t Vote Tomorrow Unless…

In or out - your vote
In or out

I try to avoid anything that isn’t STEM related on this blog but I feel I do need to speak out on the EU referendum on 23rd June.¬† I fundamentally believe in democracy, and love the fact that in the UK we have multiple parties so we do really have a choice, even if many people do not exercise it.¬† However, we now have a black or white, in or out decision to make with regard to the European Union.¬† I have seen so many people saying that the way they will vote is not because of the issue but because of personality or logical fallacy.¬† So I implore you, spend the next 24 hours doing some real research or please don’t vote.

If you’re¬†deciding to vote because Continue reading Please Don’t Vote Tomorrow Unless…

The equality debate fallacy

I’ve never thought of myself as a gender activist, and I think this is partly because I’ve never felt treated poorly – I’ve had equality throughout my life and have never felt the pull to be an activist, and as the years go by I am aware of how much privilege this background has afforded me, something that has made me start supporting those who were not as fortunate. ¬†This evening I watched a conversation unfold on twitter that annoyed me, so I’m going to put aside the tech and maths for a moment and look at what the problem is and what it isn’t.

Dr Sue Black had been giving a talk at an event in London about her TechMums program, which aims to teach women how to code to better understand technology, not necessarily to get jobs as programmers. ¬†This is a fantastic initiative and one of many that opens up understanding to people who may otherwise be ignorant on a subject that they may never have covered at school. ¬†I’ll come on to why this is important later. ¬†However, the inflammatory tweet was:

@Dr_Black @Frans_facts @paulwaugh @YvetteCooperMP We have a female monarch, home sec. And former female PM!! What glass ceiling? #tryharder

(Russell Blinman @Georgiasdad1)

Continue reading The equality debate fallacy