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Making artificial intelligence practical, productive, and accessible to everyone


Practical AI Practical AI #143

AI is creating never before heard sounds! 🎵

AI is being used to transform the most personal instrument we have, our voice, into something that can be “played.” This is fascinating in and of itself, but Yotam Mann from Never Before Heard Sounds is doing so much more! In this episode, he describes how he is using neural nets to process audio in real time for musicians and how AI is poised to change the music industry forever.

Practical AI Practical AI #142

Building a data team

Inspired by a recent article from Erik Bernhardsson titled “Building a data team at a mid-stage startup: a short story”, Chris and Daniel discuss all things AI/data team building. They share some stories from their experiences kick starting AI efforts at various organizations and weight the pro and cons of things like centralized data management, prototype development, and a focus on engineering skills.

Practical AI Practical AI #139

Vector databases for machine learning

Pinecone is the first vector database for machine learning. Edo Liberty explains to Chris how vector similarity search works, and its advantages over traditional database approaches for machine learning. It enables one to search through billions of vector embeddings for similar matches, in milliseconds, and Pinecone is a managed service that puts this capability at the fingertips of machine learning practitioners.

Practical AI Practical AI #138

Multi-GPU training is hard (without PyTorch Lightning)

William Falcon wants AI practitioners to spend more time on model development, and less time on engineering. PyTorch Lightning is a lightweight PyTorch wrapper for high-performance AI research that lets you train on multiple-GPUs, TPUs, CPUs and even in 16-bit precision without changing your code! In this episode, we dig deep into Lightning, how it works, and what it is enabling. William also discusses the Grid AI platform (built on top of PyTorch Lightning). This platform lets you seamlessly train 100s of Machine Learning models on the cloud from your laptop.

Practical AI Practical AI #137

Learning to learn deep learning 📖

Chris and Daniel sit down to chat about some exciting new AI developments including wav2vec-u (an unsupervised speech recognition model) and meta-learning (a new book about “How To Learn Deep Learning And Thrive In The Digital World”). Along the way they discuss engineering skills for AI developers and strategies for launching AI initiatives in established companies.

Practical AI Practical AI #135

Elixir meets machine learning

Today we’re sharing a special crossover episode from The Changelog podcast here on Practical AI. Recently, Daniel Whitenack joined Jerod Santo to talk with José Valim, Elixir creator, about Numerical Elixir. This is José’s newest project that’s bringing Elixir into the world of machine learning. They discuss why José chose this as his next direction, the team’s layered approach, influences and collaborators on this effort, and their awesome collaborative notebook that’s built on Phoenix LiveView.

Practical AI Practical AI #133

25 years of speech technology innovation

To say that Jeff Adams is a trailblazer when it comes to speech technology is an understatement. Along with many other notable accomplishments, his team at Amazon developed the Echo, Dash, and Fire TV changing our perception of how we could interact with devices in our home. Jeff now leads Cobalt Speech and Language, and he was kind enough to join us for a discussion about human computer interaction, multimodal AI tasks, the history of language modeling, and AI for social good.

Practical AI Practical AI #132

Generating "hunches" using smart home data 🏠

Smart home data is complicated. There are all kinds of devices, and they are in many different combinations, geographies, configurations, etc. This complicated data situation is further exacerbated during a pandemic when time series data seems to be filled with anomalies. Evan Welbourne joins us to discuss how Amazon is synthesizing this disparate data into functionality for the next generation of smart homes. He discusses the challenges of working with smart home technology, and he describes how they developed their latest feature called “hunches.”

Practical AI Practical AI #127

Women in Data Science (WiDS)

Chris has the privilege of talking with Stanford Professor Margot Gerritsen, who co-leads the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide Initiative. This is a conversation that everyone should listen to. Professor Gerritsen’s profound insights into how we can all help the women in our lives succeed - in data science and in life - is a ‘must listen’ episode for everyone, regardless of gender.

Practical AI Practical AI #124

Green AI 🌲

Empirical analysis from Roy Schwartz (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Jesse Dodge (AI2) suggests the AI research community has paid relatively little attention to computational efficiency. A focus on accuracy rather than efficiency increases the carbon footprint of AI research and increases research inequality. In this episode, Jesse and Roy advocate for increased research activity in Green AI (AI research that is more environmentally friendly and inclusive). They highlight success stories and help us understand the practicalities of making our workflows more efficient.

Practical AI Practical AI #122

The AI doc will see you now

Elad Walach of Aidoc joins Chris to talk about the use of AI for medical imaging interpretation. Starting with the world’s largest annotated training data set of medical images, Aidoc is the radiologist’s best friend, helping the doctor to interpret imagery faster, more accurately, and improving the imaging workflow along the way. Elad’s vision for the transformative future of AI in medicine clearly soothes Chris’s concern about managing his aging body in the years to come. ;-)

Practical AI Practical AI #119

Accelerating ML innovation at MLCommons

MLCommons launched in December 2020 as an open engineering consortium that seeks to accelerate machine learning innovation and broaden access to this critical technology for the public good. David Kanter, the executive director of MLCommons, joins us to discuss the launch and the ambitions of the organization.

In particular we discuss the three pillars of the organization: Benchmarks and Metrics (e.g. MLPerf), Datasets and Models (e.g. People’s Speech), and Best Practices (e.g. MLCube).

Practical AI Practical AI #118

The $1 trillion dollar ML model 💵

American Express is running what is perhaps the largest commercial ML model in the world; a model that automates over 8 billion decisions, ingests data from over $1T in transactions, and generates decisions in mere milliseconds or less globally. Madhurima Khandelwal, head of AMEX AI Labs, joins us for a fascinating discussion about scaling research and building robust and ethical AI-driven financial applications.

Practical AI Practical AI #116

Engaging with governments on AI for good

At this year’s Government & Public Sector R Conference (or R|Gov) our very own Daniel Whitenack moderated a panel on how AI practitioners can engage with governments on AI for good projects. That discussion is being republished in this episode for all our listeners to enjoy!

The panelists were Danya Murali from Arcadia Power and Emily Martinez from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Danya and Emily gave some great perspectives on sources of government data, ethical uses of data, and privacy.

Practical AI Practical AI #115

From research to product at Azure AI

Bharat Sandhu, Director of Azure AI and Mixed Reality at Microsoft, joins Chris and Daniel to talk about how Microsoft is making AI accessible and productive for users, and how AI solutions can address real world challenges that customers face. He also shares Microsoft’s research-to-product process, along with the advances they have made in computer vision, image captioning, and how researchers were able to make AI that can describe images as well as people do.

Practical AI Practical AI #114

The world's largest open library dataset

Unsplash has released the world’s largest open library dataset, which includes 2M+ high-quality Unsplash photos, 5M keywords, and over 250M searches. They have big ideas about how the dataset might be used by ML/AI folks, and there have already been some interesting applications. In this episode, Luke and Tim discuss why they released this data and what it take to maintain a dataset of this size.

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