Twitter, Machine Learning, and Net NeutralityIssue 14
This week we check in on
Twitter’s machine learning plans, ask if deep learning is magic or just math, celebrate the latest net neutrality ruling, and share some videos to watch. Plus, what we’re reading and a few things for you to try at home. 

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Twitter Dives Into Machine Learning

You Might Have Heard: Twitter announced Monday that it acquired the AI company Magic Pony Technology.

The London-based company uses machine learning and neural networks to identify features in video, enhance imagery, and create graphics for virtual and augmented reality.

In other words, Twitter’s big bet is that the algorithms will improve video streaming for Vine and Periscope by automatically filling in patchy video feeds, and increasing the resolution of pixelated video and images.

The new tech might come in handy this Fall when Twitter begins providing free, live streaming video of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games to more than 800 Million users worldwide on mobile phones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs.

Magic Pony is the third machine learning acquisition by Twitter, joining Madbits, and Whetlab. Sources say the deal was worth $150M and includes a team of 11 PhDs with expertise in computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing, and computational neuroscience.

PLUS: Google opened a dedicated machine learning research center in Zurich to focus on machine intelligence, natural language processing, and machine perception.

Deep Learning Isn’t Magic

Deep learning isn’t a dangerous magic genie, and it’s far from magic, Oren Etzioni says, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and a computer scientist at the University of Washington.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others continue to push AI into everyday online services while pundits describe deep learning as an imitation of the human brain. It’s really just simple math, Oren says, executed on an enormous scale.

And, amazingly, the artificial intelligence we were promised is finally coming as deep learning algorithms can now recognize images, voice, text, and more.

There is almost nothing we can think of that cannot be made new, different, or interesting by infusing it with some extra IQ,” Kevin Kelly writes.

It’s not all peaches and cream. Oxford philosopher and author Nick Bostrom warns that artificial intelligence is a greater threat to humanity than climate change.

So, what’s next for AI? The best minds in AI weigh in on what life will look like in the age of the machines.

Confused About AI? This two-part series on the AI revolution and the road to superintelligence is an excellent primer. (Part 1) (Part 2)

PLUS: A guide to staying human in the machine age

Net Neutrality: Can You Hear Me Now?

A federal appeals court has ruled that high-speed internet can be defined as a utility, putting it on par with other essential services like power and the phone.

The ruling clears the way for rigorous policing of broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, limiting their ability to shape the user experience by blocking content, prioritizing paid content, or creating fast and slow lanes on the internet.

“This is an enormous win for consumers,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of the public interest group Public Knowledge. “It ensures the right to an open internet with no gatekeepers.”

With the win, the internet will remain a platform for innovation, free expression, and economic growth, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the F.C.C., said in a statement.

But, hold the celebration, the fight for net neutrality isn’t over.

AT&T is already vowing to fight the decision, and expects this to ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.


Videos to Watch


What We’re Reading

  • Serverless Architectures. Unlike traditional architectures, serverless is run in stateless compute containers that are event-triggered, ephemeral, and fully managed by a 3rd party. Think of this as “Functions as a service / FaaS.” AWS Lambda is one of the most popular implementations of FaaS. (Martin Fowler)
  • What’s Next for Artificial Intelligence. The best minds in the business on what life will look like in the age of the machines. (WSJ)
  • A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from Elon Musk About Business and Investing. Elon Musk is a classic missionary founder who is more interested in changing the world and creating enduring businesses than just the financial rewards that may flow to him from the product or service. (25iq)
  • The Forrest Gump of the Internet. Ev Williams became a billionaire by helping to create the free and open web. Now, he’s betting against it. (The Atlantic)
  • A Simple Explanation of How Image Recognition Works.Are you tired of reading endless news stories about deep learning and not really knowing what that means? Let’s change that! This time, learn how to write programs that recognize objects in images using deep learning. (Medium)

Try This At Home

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