Four short links: 19 June 2018

Product Feedback, Medical AI, DensePose, and Automating Debugging
  1. Developing a Continuous Feedback Loop -- short preso on how to get and manage a lot of feedback from customers.
  2. Google's Medical AI -- some details of studies and ambitions in the space. This quote is provocative: "They’ve finally found a new application for AI that has commercial promise."
  3. DensePose -- Facebook open sourced our real-time approach for mapping all human pixels of 2D RGB images to a 3D surface-based model of the body. See discussion.
  4. Debugging with Intelligence via Probabilistic Inference (Paper a Day) -- Xu et al., have built an automated debugger that can take a single failing test execution, and with minimal interaction from a human, pinpoint the root cause of the failure. What I find really exciting about it is that instead of brute force, there’s a certain encoded intelligence in the way the analysis is
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Four short links: 18 June 2018

Innovation Stack, Fundraising, Diversity and Fans, and APIs to MySQL Data
  1. The Innovation Stack (Steve Blank) -- a must-read for anyone whose company needs to "get more of that innovation thing happening here."
  2. Both Sides of the Table -- great advice for fundraising from VCs.
  3. Superfan! (Sacha Judd) -- on teams, life, and some ways in which they all go horribly wrong. Her most excellent talk from Velocity this year.
  4. xmysql -- One command to generate REST APIs for any MySQL Database.
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Four short links: 15 June 2018

Pose Estimation, Data Ethics, Interactive Explanation, and Serverless Tool
  1. Through-Wall Human Pose Estimation Using Radio Signals -- RF-Pose provides accurate human pose estimation through walls and occlusions. It leverages the fact that wireless signals in the WiFi frequencies traverse walls and reflect off the human body. It uses a deep neural network approach that parses such radio signals to estimate 2D poses.
  2. Data Ethics Framework -- the UK shared their principles, the explanation of each principle, and the workbook for figuring out how to apply them.
  3. Predator and Prey (Mike Bostock) -- a really nice demo of the "what if we didn't publish static text and images, but instead you could interact with the explanation?". Inspired by Bret Victor, obvs.
  4. AWS SAM CLI -- a CLI tool for local development and testing of Serverless applications.
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Four short links: 14 June 2018

Historic Handwriting Recognition, Proving Security, Formal Methods, and Dank Memes
  1. Back to the Future of Handwriting Recognition -- a very readable explanation of how RAND's GRAIL system could read handwriting in 1966. (via Avi Bryant)
  2. The Surprising Security Benefits of End-to-End Formal Proofs -- talking up formal methods in software engineering, whereby you can prove your system's correctness.
  3. Software Foundations -- book series that is a broad introduction to the mathematical underpinnings of reliable software.
  4. Dank Learning: Generating Memes Using Deep Neural Networks -- both models generalize relatively well to unseen images. The average meme produced from both is difficult to differentiate from a real meme and both variants scored close to the same hilarity rating as real memes, though this is a fairly subjective metric. I wish "hilarity" were a metric that more things were judged by.
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Four short links: 13 June 2018

Security Papers, Science AI, Deliberation, and Doing Science
  1. Influential Security Papers -- a ranking of top-cited papers from the area of computer security. The ranking is automatically created based on citations of papers published at top security conferences.
  2. Aristo -- Allen Institute app that reads, learns, and reasons about science.
  3. Automated Planning and Acting -- book and slides. This book is about methods and techniques that a computational agent can use for deliberative planning and acting, that is, for deciding both which actions to perform and how to perform them, to achieve some objective.
  4. Notes on Everything is F*cked -- Sanjay Srivastava posted a syllabus for a course called Everything is Fucked. The course itself is intended as a joke, but the reading list seemed interesting. These notes on the reading list papers are a great romp through the reproducibility crisis, p-hacking, and the multiplicity of ways your science can
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Four short links: 12 June 2018

Text2Binary, GraphQL, USB, and Debugging
  1. t2b -- a wicked-powerful text macro language for building binary files.
  2. GraphQL Guide -- new book by John Resig and Loren Sands-Ramshaw. (Blog post)
  3. USB Type C is Still a Mess -- yes, yes it is.
  4. Sonar -- a platform for debugging mobile apps on iOS and Android. Visualize, inspect, and control your apps from a simple desktop interface. Use Sonar as is or extend it using the plugin API. (via Facebook)
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Four short links: 11 June 2018

Tiny Machine Learning, Deep Video, Software 2.0, and Smart Camera
  1. Why the Future of Machine Learning is Tiny (Pete Warden) -- If you accept all of the points above, then it’s obvious there’s a massive untapped market waiting to be unlocked with the right technology. We need something that works on cheap microcontrollers, that uses very little energy, that relies on compute not radio, and that can turn all our wasted sensor data into something useful. This is the gap that machine learning, and specifically deep learning, fills.
  2. Deep Video Portraits (YouTube) -- excellent video faking advance, hot from SIGGRAPH.
  3. Building the Software 2.0 Stack (Andrej Karpathy) -- 1.0 is pipelines and stacks, 2.0 is machine-optimized structure and parameters for code. The talk is really good.
  4. Jevois Smart Machine Vision Camera -- video sensor + quad-core CPU + USB video + serial port, all in a
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Four short links: 8 June 2018

Representative Recognition, Cyberwar, Data Science Projects, and Conversational Failure
  1. NYT Uses Software to Identify Members of Congress -- In addition to confirming the identity of a member, Who The Hill has helped The Times tell some stories we couldn’t have reported otherwise. Most recently, Rachel Shorey found members of Congress at an event hosted by a SuperPAC by trawling through images found on social media and finding matches.
  2. Cyberwar Map -- both a visualization of state-sponsored cyberattacks and an index of Cyber Vault documents related to each topic (represented as nodes on the map).
  3. Cookie-Cutter Data Science -- a standard directory structure and set of conventions for a data science project, with a tool that creates a new one.
  4. Conversations Gone Awry: Detecting Early Signs of Conversational Failure -- To this end, we develop a framework for capturing pragmatic devices—such as politeness strategies and rhetorical prompts—used to start a conversation,
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Four short links: 7 June 2018

Algorithmic Accountability, Killing Project Maven, AI Scares Past, and Submarine Data Center
  1. Algorithmic Accountability -- an interesting refutation of calls for transparency and explainability. Instead, A governance framework for algorithmic accountability is based on the principle that an algorithmic system should employ a variety of controls to ensure operators can: verify it works in accordance with the operator’s intentions, and identify and rectify harmful outcomes. Algorithmic accountability promotes desirable outcomes, protects against harmful ones, and ensures algorithmic decisions are subject to the same requirements as human decisions.
  2. Tech Workers vs. The Pentagon (Jacobin) -- interesting insider's account of how Google workers organized against the Project Maven work for the Pentagon. Also interesting: it revealed that Project Maven was actually a pilot project for future collaborations between Google and the military. In particular, Project Maven was part of Google’s push to win the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. JEDI is
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Four short links: 6 June 2018

Future Analytics, Personal Data, Wireless Power, Counterintuitive Probability
  1. DAWN: Data Analytics for What's Next -- Stanford project working on an end-to-end suite of tools. Their breakdown of opportunities for improvement is an interesting read. The project homepage has more.
  2. Singapore Government Discussion Paper on AI and Personal Data -- The objective is to put forward a proposed accountability-based framework and provide common definitions and a common structure to facilitate constructive and systemic discussions on ethical, governance, and consumer protection issues relating to the commercial deployment of AI. (via ZDNet)
  3. Wireless Power in the Body (MIT) -- The implants are powered by radio frequency waves, which can safely pass through human tissues. In tests in animals, the researchers showed that the waves can power devices located 10 centimeters deep in tissue, from a distance of 1 meter.
  4. Counterintuitive Probability -- these will make your head ache. In the good way.
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Four short links: 5 June 2018

Reinforcement Learning Notebooks, Music Translation, Service Fabric, and Nat Friedman
  1. Reinforcement Learning Notebooks -- there's also a good selection of other Jupyter AI notebooks in the Hacker News comments.
  2. Universal Music Translation Network -- We present a method for translating music across musical instruments, genres, and styles. This method is based on a multi-domain wavenet autoencoder, with a shared encoder and a disentangled latent space that is trained end-to-end on waveforms. (via NextWeb)
  3. ServiceFabric: a Distributed Platform for Building Microservices in the Cloud -- application lifecycle management of scalable and reliable applications composed of microservices running at very high density on a shared pool of machines, from development to deployment to management. (via Paper a Day)
  4. Hello, GitHub -- GitHub sold to Microsoft for $7.5 billion, and its new CEO will be the most excellent Nat Friedman (of Xamarin fame).
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Four short links: 4 June 2018

Infinite Walking, Security Class, Collaborative Data Structures, and Brain Class
  1. Infinite Walking in VR -- It's the nature of the human eye to scan a scene by moving rapidly between points of fixation. We realized that if we rotate the virtual camera just slightly during saccades, we can redirect a user's walking direction to simulate a larger walking space.
  2. Defense Against the Dark Arts -- Tufts's online summer school intro to security class.
  3. Data Laced with History: Causal Trees and Operational CRDTs -- in the words of the author: I wanted to research more elegant ways to enable document sync and collaboration in my apps sometime last year, and ended up discovering a new class of data structure that made it possible to build collaboration into documents right on the data level, completely separate from the network architecture. (via Hacker News)
  4. 9.11 The Human Brain -- all the
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Four short links: 1 June 2018

AI Touch, Drone Delivery, WTF, and Javascript Robotics
  1. Artificial Sense of Touch -- This rudimentary artificial nerve circuit integrates three previously described components. The first is a touch sensor that can detect even minuscule forces. This sensor sends signals through the second component -- a flexible electronic neuron. The touch sensor and electronic neuron are improved versions of inventions previously reported by the Bao lab. Sensory signals from these components stimulate the third component, an artificial synaptic transistor modeled after human synapses.
  2. Drone Delivery Coming to Vanuatu -- the nation is opening a tender for vaccine delivery services between islands. UNICEF and the government of Vanuatu expect that a few drone companies will become the long-term solution to the many logistical challenges of “last-mile delivery” of vaccines on the small islands.
  3. wtf -- a personal terminal-based dashboard utility, designed for displaying infrequently-needed, but very important, daily data.
  4. Johnny-Five -- an
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Four short links: 31 May 2018

Internet Trends, Deep Learning, Governing Commons, and Invisible Asymptotes
  1. Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2018 -- growth of number of internet-connected devices and users has slowed, but usage is still growing. And check out that exponential growth in the number of Wi-Fi networks globally. Her preso has got a whole lot less focused as she's scrambling for things that may still indicate that the tech boom isn't over.
  2. Deep Learning's Value (Hacker News) -- If you think Deep (Reinforcement) Learning is going to solve AGI, you are out of luck. If you however think it's useless and won't bring us anywhere, you are guaranteed to be wrong. Frankly, if you are daily working with Deep Learning, you are probably not seeing the big picture (i.e. how horrible methods used in real-life are and how you can easily get very economical 5% benefit of just plugging in Deep Learning somewhere
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Four short links: 30 May 2018

Rapidly Learning Games, Geo Toolbox, Philosophy and CS, and Moravec's Paradox
  1. Playing Hard Exploration Games by Watching YouTube -- This method of one-shot imitation allows our agent to convincingly exceed human-level performance on the infamously hard exploration games Montezuma's Revenge, Pitfall! and Private Eye for the first time, even if the agent is not presented with any environment rewards. (via @hardmaru)
  2. An Open-Source Geospatial Toolbox -- Uber's React-built geo toolkit. No word on whether there's a function for faking randomly circling cars near your location.
  3. Why Philosophers Should Care About Computer Science (Scott Aaronson) -- computational complexity theory—the field that studies the resources (such as time, space, and randomness) needed to solve computational problems—leads to new perspectives on the nature of mathematical knowledge, the strong AI debate, computationalism, the problem of logical omniscience, Hume’s problem of induction, Goodman’s grue riddle, the foundations of quantum mechanics, economic rationality,
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Four short links: 29 May 2018

Data Beats Algorithms, Copyright Futures, Data Privacy, and Cryptocurrency Attacks
  1. You Need to Improve Your Training Data (Pete Warden) -- without changing the model or test data at all, the top-one accuracy increased by over 4%, from 85.4% to 89.7%. Written up in an Arxiv paper.
  2. Future Not Made -- potential products that won't exist if the EU passes a database copyright law. In the words of Cory Doctorow: The feature all these devices share is that they rely on databases of user-supplied assets -- annotations, recorded sensations, shapefiles -- of the sort that the EU is about to make legally impossible. (via BoingBoing)
  3. California Eyes Data Privacy Measures -- Mactaggart says the proposed law would not prevent Facebook, Google or a local newspaper from collecting users' data and using it to target ads to them. But users will have a right to stop companies from sharing
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Four short links: 28 May 2018

Hypergrowth, Metaphor-Oriented Programming, Zombie Data, and Science Robotics Challenges
  1. Productivity in the Age of Hypergrowth -- good tips and perspective on scaling engineering teams as companies ramp up hiring.
  2. Homespring Programming Language Reference -- Homespring uses the paradigm of a river to create its astoundingly user-friendly semantics. Each program is a river system which flows into the watershed (the terminal output). Information is carried by salmon (which represent string values), which swim upstream trying to find their home river. Terminal input causes a new salmon to be spawned at the river mouth; when a salmon leaves the river system for the ocean, its value is output to the terminal. In this way, terminal I/O is neatly and elegantly represented within the system metaphor. It's a (joke) metaphor-oriented programming language that makes my eyes water.
  3. Engauge Digitizer -- Extracts data points from images of graphs. This creates zombie data (the data
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Four short links: 25 May 2018

Bitcoin Badness, True Platform, Hardware Details, and Continuous Game of Life
  1. U.S. Criminal Probe into Bitcoin Manipulation -- also in the news: $1.2 billion of cryptocurrency stolen since 2017.
  2. Bill Gates on Platforms -- A platform is when the economic value of everybody that uses it exceeds the value of the company that creates it. Then it’s a platform. (via Stratechery)
  3. Inside the 76477 Space Invaders Sound Chip -- this is fascinating! The 76477 is primarily analog—most control signals are analog, the chip doesn't have digital control registers, and most sounds are generated from analog circuits—but about a third of the chip's area is digital logic.
  4. Smooth Life -- Conway's Game of Life on a continuous domain. See also Game of Life for Curved Surfaces and accompanying video. (via
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Four short links: 24 May 2018

Biosynthesising Nanomaterials, OS X Age, Debugging Machine Learning, and Deepfake Detection
  1. Recombinant E. Coli As a Biofactory for the Biosynthesis of Diverse Nanomaterials -- Summary: A metabolic research group has developed a recombinant E. coli strain that biosynthesizes 60 different nanomaterials covering 35 elements on the periodic table. Among the elements, the team could biosynthesize 33 novel nanomaterials for the first time, advancing the forward design of nanomaterials through the biosynthesis of various single and multi-elements.
  2. This Will Make You Feel Old -- OS X is now as old as MacOS was when OS X was introduced.
  3. Machine Learning is a Fundamentally Hard Debugging Problem -- in addition to algorithm and implementation issues, in the case of machine learning pipelines, there are two additional dimensions along which bugs are common: the actual model and the data.
  4. U.S. Military Funding Deepfake Detection -- “It’s gone from state-sponsored actors and Hollywood
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Four short links: 23 May 2018

Remote Work, AWS Production Checklist, Proof of Work, and Face Recognition
  1. Remote Workers Make Enterprises More Competitive -- job ads that include the term "remote work" get six times more applicants.
  2. AWS Production Readiness Checklist -- everything you need to do before you go live. (via blog)
  3. Bitcoin Mining and Proof of Work -- Non-technical people often assume that bitcoin will get more efficient as it goes on—like other technologies do. This isn’t the case at all. With every other technology, the economic motivation is to reduce energy costs. But with bitcoin, you make your bitcoins by spending absolutely as much energy as you can throw at the problem.
  4. Machine Learning to Spot Celebrities -- it's so emblematic. China uses face recognition to spot criminals and track association; the West uses face recognition to automatically track and record celebrities for a television broadcast.
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