It seems like machine learning is either hitting its stride as a real “thing” these days, or is at a particularly high point in the hype cycle. The advances happening in this AI / ML space are fascinating. I think the Big Tech Companies are onto something with real-world applications that are neither pie-in-the-sky science fiction or vaporware. This week we’ve got a few interesting things in that vein.
Facebook is on the leading edge of what’s being done in the AI space, and it’s great to see them making such strides in applications for mapping. This comes out of Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, their subdivision focused on bringing internet to the disconnected. It’s a neat application of computer vision and satellite imagery to detect man-made structures in 21.6 million square kilometers of data.
An interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with some interesting thoughts on this topic. He’s ushered in a culture and focus shift in one of the biggest tech companies in the world, and they’re doubling down on their attention to cloud services and AI research. His thoughts on automation and its impact on the workforce are interesting:
“I definitely come from the point of view that it’s augmentation—this is the race with the machine. To me, AI is going to happen; it’s technology that’s inevitable. The question is, how do we design in the human-in-the-loop so that the human gets more leverage.” — Satya Nadella
On network effects and building “learning loops” — self-improving software systems. Related to our recent posts on feedback loops, learning loops take the same concept and make it self-perpetuating. Products like Waze (which get smarter the more drive with it) are examples of the learning loop in action.