This article follows my previous one on Bayesian probability & probabilistic programming that I published few months ago on LinkedIn. And for the purpose of this article, I am going to assume that most this article readers have some idea what a Neural Network or Artificial Neural Network is. Neural Network is a non-linear function approximator. We can think of it as a parameterized function where the parameters are the weights & biases of Neural Network through which we will be typically passing our data (inputs), that will be converted to a probability between 0 and 1, to some kind of non-linearity such as a sigmoid function and help make our predictions or estimations. These non-linear functions can be composed together hence Deep Learning Neural Network with multiple layers of this function compositions.
Our brains are wired in a way that they can differentiate between objects, both living and non-living by simply looking at them. In fact, the recognition of objects and a situation through visualization is the fastest way to gather, as well as to relate information. This becomes a pretty big deal for computers where a vast amount of data has to be stuffed into it, before the computer can perform an operation on its own. Ironically, with each passing day, it is becoming essential for machines to identify objects through facial recognition, so that humans can take the next big step towards a more scientifically advanced social mechanism. So, what progress have we really made in that respect?
Financial markets have been one of the earliest adopters of machine learning (ML). People have been using ML to spot patterns in the markets since 1980s. Even though ML has had enormous successes in predicting the market outcomes in the past, the recent advances in deep learning haven't helped financial market predictions much. While deep learning and other ML techniques have finally made it possible for Alexa, Google Assistant and Google Photos to work, there hasn't been much progress when it comes to stock markets.
Anyone that might be concerned about computers taking over look away now, because they are a step closer to sounding just like humans. Researchers in the UK at Google's DeepMind unit have been working on making computer-generated speech sound as "natural" as humans. The technology, called WaveNet, which is focused on the area of speech synthesis, or text-to-speech, was found to sound more natural than any of Google's products. However, this was only achieved after the WaveNet artificial neural network was trained to produce English and Chinese speech which required copious amounts of computing power, so the technology probably won't be hitting the mainstream any time soon. Using a convolutional neural network, which is used for artificial intelligence in deep learning, it is trained on data and then the systems make inferences about new data, in addition to being used to generate new data.