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Making artificial intelligence practical, productive, and accessible to everyone

Practical AI Practical AI #219

Capabilities of LLMs 🤯

Large Language Model (LLM) capabilities have reached new heights and are nothing short of mind-blowing! However, with so many advancements happening at once, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all the latest developments. To help us navigate through this complex terrain, we’ve invited Raj - one of the most adept at explaining State-of-the-Art (SOTA) AI in practical terms - to join us on the podcast.

Raj discusses several intriguing topics such as in-context learning, reasoning, LLM options, and related tooling. But that’s not all! We also hear from Raj about the rapidly growing data science and AI community on TikTok.

Practical AI Practical AI #228

From ML to AI to Generative AI

Chris and Daniel take a step back to look at how generative AI fits into the wider landscape of ML/AI and data science. They talk through the differences in how one approaches “traditional” supervised learning and how practitioners are approaching generative AI based solutions (such as those using Midjourney or GPT family models). Finally, they talk through the risk and compliance implications of generative AI, which was in the news this week in the EU.

Practical AI Practical AI #234

Vector databases (beyond the hype)

There’s so much talk (and hype) these days about vector databases. We thought it would be timely and practical to have someone on the show that has been hands on with the various options and actually tried to build applications leveraging vector search. Prashanth Rao is a real practitioner that has spent and huge amount of time exploring the expanding set of vector database offerings. After introducing vector database and giving us a mental model of how they fit in with other datastores, Prashanth digs into the trade offs as related to indices, hosting options, embedding vs. query optimization, and more.

Practical AI Practical AI #221

Large models on CPUs

Model sizes are crazy these days with billions and billions of parameters. As Mark Kurtz explains in this episode, this makes inference slow and expensive despite the fact that up to 90%+ of the parameters don’t influence the outputs at all.

Mark helps us understand all of the practicalities and progress that is being made in model optimization and CPU inference, including the increasing opportunities to run LLMs and other Generative AI models on commodity hardware.

Practical AI Practical AI #216

Explainable AI that is accessible for all humans

We are seeing an explosion of AI apps that are (at their core) a thin UI on top of calls to OpenAI generative models. What risks are associated with this sort of approach to AI integration, and is explainability and accountability something that can be achieved in chat-based assistants?

Beth Rudden of has been thinking about this topic for some time and has developed an ontological approach to creating conversational AI. We hear more about that approach and related work in this episode.

Practical AI Practical AI #222

The last mile of AI app development

There are a ton of problems around building LLM apps in production and the last mile of that problem. Travis Fischer, builder of open AI projects like @ChatGPTBot, joins us to talk through these problems (and how to overcome them). He helps us understand the hierarchy of complexity from simple prompting to augmentation, agents, and fine-tuning. Along the way we discuss the frontend developer community that is rapidly adopting AI technology via Typescript (not Python).

Practical AI Practical AI #207

Machine learning at small organizations

Why is ML is so poorly adopted in small organizations (hint: it’s not because they don’t have enough data)? In this episode, Kirsten Lum from Storytellers shares the patterns she has seen in small orgs that lead to a successful ML practice. We discuss how the job of a ML Engineer/Data Scientist is different in that environment and how end-to-end project management is key to adoption.

Practical AI Practical AI #224

Data augmentation with LlamaIndex

Large Language Models (LLMs) continue to amaze us with their capabilities. However, the utilization of LLMs in production AI applications requires the integration of private data. Join us as we have a captivating conversation with Jerry Liu from LlamaIndex, where he provides valuable insights into the process of data ingestion, indexing, and query specifically tailored for LLM applications. Delving into the topic, we uncover different query patterns and venture beyond the realm of vector databases.

Practical AI Practical AI #220

Causal inference

With all the LLM hype, it’s worth remembering that enterprise stakeholders want answers to “why” questions. Enter causal inference. Paul Hünermund has been doing research and writing on this topic for some time and joins us to introduce the topic. He also shares some relevant trends and some tips for getting started with methods including double machine learning, experimentation, difference-in-difference, and more.

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