How Silicon Valley is teaching language to machines

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The dream of building computers or robots that communicate like humans has been with us for many decades now. And if market trends and investment levels are any guide, it's something we would really like to have. MarketsandMarkets says the natural language processing (NLP) industry will be worth $16.07 billion by 2021, growing at a rate of 16.1 percent, and deep learning is estimated to reach $1.7 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 65.3 percent between 2016 and 2022. Of course, if you've played with any chatbots, you will know that it's a promise that is yet to be fulfilled. There's an "uncanny valley" where, at one end, we sense we're not talking to a real person and, at the other end, the machine just doesn't "get" what we mean.


Improving Argument Mining in Student Essays by Learning and Exploiting Argument Indicators versus Essay Topics

AAAI Conferences

Argument mining systems for student essays need to be able to reliably identify argument components independently of particular essay topics. Thus in addition to features that model argumentation through topic-independent linguistic indicators such as discourse markers, features that can abstract over lexical signals of particular essay topics might also be helpful to improve performance. Prior argument mining studies have focused on persuasive essays and proposed a variety of largely lexicalized features. Our current study examines the utility of such features, proposes new features to abstract over the domain topics of essays, and conducts evaluations using both 10-fold cross validation as well as cross-topic validation. Experimental results show that our proposed features significantly improve argument mining performance in both types of cross-fold evaluation settings. Feature ablation studies further shed light on relative feature utility.


Should you become a data scientist?

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There is no shortage of articles attempting to lay out a step-by-step process of how to become a data scientist. Are you a recent graduate? Do this… Are you changing careers? Do that… And make sure you're focusing on the top skills: coding, statistics, machine learning, storytelling, databases, big data… Need resources? Check out Andrew Ng's Coursera ML course, …". Although these are important things to consider once you have made up your mind to pursue a career in data science, I hope to answer the question that should come before all of this. It's the question that should be on every aspiring data scientist's mind: "should I become a data scientist?" This question addresses the why before you try to answer the how. What is it about the field that draws you in and will keep you in it and excited for years to come? In order to answer this question, it's important to understand how we got here and where we are headed. Because by having a full picture of the data science landscape, you can determine whether data science makes sense for you. Before the convergence of computer science, data technology, visualization, mathematics, and statistics into what we call data science today, these fields existed in siloes -- independently laying the groundwork for the tools and products we are now able to develop, things like: Oculus, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, self-driving cars, recommendation engines, etc. The foundational ideas have been around for decades... early scientists dating back to the pre-1800s, coming from wide range of backgrounds, worked on developing our first computers, calculus, probability theory, and algorithms like: CNNs, reinforcement learning, least squares regression. With the explosion in data and computational power, we are able to resurrect these decade old ideas and apply them to real-world problems. In 2009 and 2012, articles were published by McKinsey and the Harvard Business Review, hyping up the role of the data scientist, showing how they were revolutionizing the way businesses are operating and how they would be critical to future business success. They not only saw the advantage of a data-driven approach, but also the importance of utilizing predictive analytics into the future in order to remain competitive and relevant. Around the same time in 2011, Andrew Ng came out with a free online course on machine learning, and the curse of AI FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in. Companies began the search for highly skilled individuals to help them collect, store, visualize and make sense of all their data. "You want the title and the high pay?


Artificial Intelligence: A Free Online Course from MIT

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That's because, to paraphrase Amazon's Jeff Bezos, artificial intelligence (AI) is "not just in the first inning of a long baseball game, but at the stage where the very first batter comes up." Look around, and you will find AI everywhere--in self driving cars, Siri on your phone, online customer support, movie recommendations on Netflix, fraud detection for your credit cards, etc. To be sure, there's more to come. Featuring 30 lectures, MIT's course "introduces students to the basic knowledge representation, problem solving, and learning methods of artificial intelligence." It includes interactive demonstrations designed to "help students gain intuition about how artificial intelligence methods work under a variety of circumstances."


Startup CEOs on how to keep the artificial intelligence ball rolling in Canada

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The next time you pull out your smartphone and ask Siri or Google for advice, or chat with a bot online, take pride in knowing that some of the theoretical foundation for that technology was brought to life here in Canada. Indeed, as far back as the early 1980s, key organizations such as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research embarked on groundbreaking work in neural networks and machine learning. Academic pioneers such as Geoffrey Hinton (now a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and an advisor to Google, among others), the University of Montreal's Yoshua Bengio and the University of Alberta's Rich Sutton produced critical research that helped fuel Canada's rise to prominence as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI). Stephen Piron, co-CEO of Dessa, praises the federal government's efforts at cutting immigration processing timelines for highly skilled foreign workers. Canada now houses three major AI clusters – in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton – that form the backbone of the country's machine-learning ecosystem and support homegrown AI startups.