The AI convergence
Dishwasher capsules, GPUs and the end of the good old-fashioned AI
In the summer of 2012 I was spending a lot of time looking at photos of dishwasher capsules. I was working at a cool Polish startup developing factory inspection systems (using cameras to find broken products on the assembly line).
I loved working in this field: we were developing specialized algorithms for edge detection and shape analysis, and it was a lot of fun to see them applied to real-life problems and deployed in factories.
I didn’t understand it back then, but I was experiencing the last moments of what today is called the era of good old-fashioned Artificial Intelligence. We were writing specialized algorithms to teach the computer to perform steps that could conceivably be explained to a human.
That same year (2012), a paper came out that heralded the end of “good old-fashioned AI”. A team at University of Toronto demonstrated a successful application of neural networks that beat state-of-the-art conventional AI methods at classifying images in the ImageNet contest.
Neural networks are an example of “statistical machine learning”. Rather than develop a step-by-step algorithm that teaches the computer how to perform a task (as I was doing with shape analysis of dishwasher capsules), we design a system that can learn the algorithm from example data.
In 2012 the neural networks (nor statistical machine learning in general) were not new. What was new was their successful high-profile application.
More on what happened next and what it means for AI in the full version on the blog: 📝 The AI convergence: neural networks for everything, including dishwasher capsules
In other news
🤖 I intend to keep learning and writing about AI in this newsletter for the foreseeable future :). Hope you’ll join me ! If you have ideas for topics to cover, let me know!
🎞️ The A.I. Dilemma (March 2023): great talk on the risks associated with AI advancement, and a great pitch for why it’s important to get the mitigations right
🧐 People spot reviews and books written by generative AI on Amazon
Postcard from Paris
French National Library (and the adjacent MK2 cinema).
Days are getting longer and warmer in Paris. Wishing everyone sunshine and happy days this May 💫 !