Practical Machine Learning with Python

by @edent | , , , | 450 words

Logo of the Python programming language.

As part of my MSc I'm taking a short course in Practical Machine Learning via QA.com. The first three days were just about basic stats visualisation using Python. It was great to have a refresher - but I would have expected that to be a pre-requisite. The tutor was excellent - very patient at explaining…

Alexa Standard English

by @edent | , , | 4 comments | 300 words | Read ~555 times.

A reel-to-reel tape recorder.

"Alexa… timer for fifteen minutes." The problem with the English language is that it is full of homophones, or semi-homophones. 15 and 50 sound basically the same. Humans have a hard time distinguishing them. So there's no wonder that voice assistants also have difficulty. Recently, I've noticed that my wife and I have adopted a…

What does Google think the minimum wage is?

by @edent | , , | 5 comments | 350 words | Read ~3,326 times.

Graph showing the rise in minimum wage in Euros.

There's been several long threads recently on Google's crappy info-box. Google doesn't want you to leave the Google page, so Google slurps information up and presents you an answer on the Google homepage. Here's what it typically looks like. OK, that's kinda useful. Search for a thing and get the info without clicking through. But…

Synthetic Poetry

by @edent | , , , | 450 words

A robot taxi driver.

I've been experimenting with Amazon's Polly service. It's their fancy text-to-sort-of-human-style-speech system. Think "Alexa" but with a variety of voices, genders, and accents. Here's "Brian" - their English, male, received pronunciation voice - reading John Betjeman's poem "Slough": The pronunciation of all the words is incredibly lifelike. If you heard it on the radio, it…

Movie Review: The Mitchells 🆚 The Machines

by @edent | , | 300 words

Movie poster witha madcap animated family in a car.

One of my favourite movie moments is in the 1998 movie Antz - when one of the ants turns to camera and says: It's the workers who control the means of production! Even though we're not in the age of the Hollywood Blacklist, it's still rare to see overt - and literal - Marxism on…

My Robot Vacuum Cleaner is Afraid of Sunshine

by @edent | | 3 comments | 350 words | Read ~468 times.

Cleaner in sunlight.

I have a cheap WiFi enabled vacuum cleaner. One morning, I barked "ALEXA! CLEAN THE HOUSE." The gynoid immediately responded with "Now playing songs by Crowded House." The future's ace, innit? So I opened the cleaner's app, hit a button, and heard the sound of a domestic-droid doing its thing. For two minutes. The app…

Book Review - Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

by @edent | , , , | 500 words

A Black woman, face sorrounded by circuits, looks to the future.

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity. Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing…

Let's get rid of humans

by @edent | , , | 7 comments | 400 words | Read ~162 times.

A robot taxi driver.

We place a large premium on Human. Mostly because it is what we've always known. But, when given the choice, we often ditch humans for something better. Some random examples… Radio DJs Does anyone actually miss witless chatter between records? Use of Spotify suggests a large number of us don't need a Human to introduce…

"Her frown lies betwixt two fickle eyes" - Teaching an AI to write Shakespearean Sonnets

by @edent | , | 1 comment | 550 words

A pixelated Shakespeare.

For a domain based on Shakespeare - this blog doesn't talk about The Bard much. Sorry! I forced a bot to read 154 Shakespearean Sonnets. This is what it came up with... 47 Be where thou art, thou art the sea, Till all that belongs to it turn aside, And make another land into thy…

Book Review: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

by @edent | , | 100 words

From internationally bestselling icon Jeanette Winterson comes her most highly anticipated new book about the bodies we live in and the bodies we desire.