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.
Nhung Ho joins Daniel and Chris to discuss how data science creates insights into financial operations and economic conditions. They delve into topics ranging from predictive forecasting to aid small businesses, to learning about the economic fallout from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Dave Lacey takes Daniel and Chris on a journey that connects the user interfaces that we already know - TensorFlow and PyTorch - with the layers that connect to the underlying hardware. Along the way, we learn about Poplar Graph Framework Software. If you are the type of practitioner who values ‘under the hood’ knowledge, then this is the episode for you.
Nikola Mrkšić, CEO & Co-Founder of PolyAI, takes Daniel and Chris on a deep dive into conversational AI, describing the underlying technologies, and teaching them about the next generation of voice assistants that will be capable of handling true human-level conversations. It’s an episode you’ll be talking about for a long time!
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.
Many people are excited about creating usable speech technology. However, most of the audio data used by large companies isn’t available to the majority of people, and that data is often biased in terms of language, accent, and gender. Jenny, Josh, and Remy from Mozilla join us to discuss how Mozilla is building an open-source voice database that anyone can use to make innovative apps for devices and the web (Common Voice). They also discuss efforts through Mozilla fellowship program to develop speech tech for African languages and understand bias in data sets.
Hilary Mason is building a new way for kids and families to create stories with AI. It’s called Hidden Door, and in her first interview since founding it, Hilary reveals to Chris and Daniel what the experience will be like for kids. It’s the first Practical AI episode in which some of the questions came from Chris’s 8yo daughter Athena.
Hilary also shares her insights into various topics, like how to build data science communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic, reasons why data science goes wrong, and how to build great data-based products. Don’t miss this episode packed with hard-won wisdom!
Come hang with the bad boys of natural language processing (NLP)! Jack Morris joins Daniel and Chris to talk about TextAttack, a Python framework for adversarial attacks, data augmentation, and model training in NLP. TextAttack will improve your understanding of your NLP models, so come prepared to rumble with your own adversarial attacks!
Sash Rush, of Cornell Tech and Hugging Face, catches us up on all the things happening with Hugging Face and transformers. Last time we had Clem from Hugging Face on the show (episode 35), their transformers library wasn’t even a thing yet. Oh how things have changed! This time Sasha tells us all about Hugging Face’s open source NLP work, gives us an intro to the key components of transformers, and shares his perspective on the future of AI research conferences.
So many AI developers are coming up with creative, useful COVID-19 applications during this time of crisis. Among those are Timo from Deepset-AI and Tony from Intel. They are working on a question answering system for pandemic-related questions called COVID-QA. In this episode, they describe the system, related annotation of the CORD-19 data set, and ways that you can contribute!
Catherine Breslin of Cobalt joins Daniel and Chris to do a deep dive on speech recognition. She also discusses how the technology is integrated into virtual assistants (like Alexa) and is used in other non-assistant contexts (like transcription and captioning). Along the way, she teaches us how to assemble a lexicon, acoustic model, and language model to bring speech recognition to life.
Expanding AI technology to the local languages of emerging markets presents huge challenges. Good data is scarce or non-existent. Users often have bandwidth or connectivity issues. Existing platforms target only a small number of high-resource languages.
Our own Daniel Whitenack (data scientist at SIL International) and Dan Jeffries (from Pachyderm) discuss how these and related problems will only be solved when AI technology and resources from industry are combined with linguistic expertise from those on the ground working with local language communities. They have illustrated this approach as they work on pushing voice technology into emerging markets.
Daniel and Chris explore Semantic Scholar with Doug Raymond of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Semantic Scholar is an AI-backed search engine that uses machine learning, natural language processing, and machine vision to surface relevant information from scientific papers.
SpaCy is awesome for NLP! It’s easy to use, has widespread adoption, is open source, and integrates the latest language models. Ines Montani and Matthew Honnibal (core developers of spaCy and co-founders of Explosion) join us to discuss the history of the project, its capabilities, and the latest trends in NLP. We also dig into the practicalities of taking NLP workflows to production. You don’t want to miss this episode!