Hello World, this is Renzo speaking or should I say blogging. This is my first blog post which will give you an introduction on how I got into Artificial Intelligence (AI), my motivation in creating this blog, and what kind of posts can you expect from me. Let’s get started!
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I started dabbling in Artificial Intelligence in the middle of 2018. My thesis project back in college required knowledge of Artificial Intelligence so I started looking into it. To begin, I enrolled in the course Machine Learning by Andrew Ng on Coursera.
When we were kids, we thought of Artificial Intelligence as robots or programs that are able to mimic human capabilities. As a kid, I used to be very fond of Johny 5, the robot from the movie Short Circuit. I was amazed by how he learned about the world around him through the guidance of the people close to him. It was astounding to see a creation of man mimic the sentience of a human. I was so drawn to that robot that I even cried when he died (good thing, it was just a fake death or else I would have been traumatized).
However, when I started the course, my former perception of AI changed when I realized that it was more of an application of Mathematics that finds a functional mapping from input to output in data, utilizing its correlations. Of course, that definition is still just a gist of AI — for the ultimate goal of AI is to mimic cognition like that of Johny 5. Going back to the topic, our thesis group decided on using deep learning for our project which involved image classification, that’s why I shifted to another course of Andrew Ng — the Deep Learning Specialization.
I started with the first course, Neural Networks and Deep Learning. The first lessons were simple enough, consisting of mostly, general concepts; but one statement of Andrew struck me and got me hooked into AI, "AI is the new electricity."
For Andrew, Artificial Intelligence is about to bring a wave of change in our way of life, to the point that AI would be ubiquitous to our daily lives and that thinking stuck on to me. Come to think of it: AI is part of our daily lives more than we give it credit for. It is found in the virtual assistants on our phones and speakers. It is found on the shopping sites where you buy things that you don’t even need but feel obligated to because of a limited time offer sale. It is found on your favorite music and video streaming services to give song or show recommendations. It is even found on your phone’s camera.
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As the course progressed, as with the Machine Learning course, a lot of Math was introduced which proved challenging even though I was an engineering student. Good thing Andrew, was a master of calming people down with one of his famous quotes, “Don’t worry about it if you don’t understand.” Kidding aside, it is equally important to understand the Math behind these algorithms so do find time to understand them. Finishing course 1, I stopped doing the specialization to focus on my thesis where I used a lot of the concepts I learned in doing the project.
Finishing my thesis and eventually graduating, I resumed the deep learning specialization and started making jupyter notebooks detailing each lesson and even going “deeper” (no pun intended) on some other topics in hopes to have something to go back to in case I forget some concepts. By doing this, I began to appreciate AI even more and even highlighted some use-cases I had in mind. I had many “hey I can use this concept for X and Y” moments where Andrew would explain something and I would think of a use case for myself where I could apply it. I remembered how Andrew viewed AI as the new electricity and thought of some use-cases so I could truly make AI truly ubiquitous in my life.
Artificial Intelligence for You
Thus, I came up with this blog where I can share with you how I use Artificial Intelligence to address some of my needs in life no matter how quirky. The blog title, AI4U (Artificial Intelligence for You), is, literally, the vision I have for Artificial Intelligence. I believe AI should assist humanity and make people’s lives easier. AI should be human-centric. It should be built not to replace humans but to coexist with humans to make life easier.
In this blog, I hope to create tutorials — highlighting the premise of a use-case I have thought of and how I used AI to fill that use case. I’ll be writing about how I structure my Machine Learning or Deep Learning projects and occasionally, you’ll see posts about Data Science since I am a Data Scientist by profession. That’s it for now, thanks for reading!