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Episode 5 - A brief guide to AI and Machine Learning

Today we’re going to jump right into two of the hottest topics in technology - AI and machine learning. We hear these terms bandied around in mainstream media all the time, but what do they actually boil down to?

Useful Links

  • Do Not Pay - The chatbot designed to fight your parking fines for you.  Joshua Browder also wrote an article on medium to announce the fact he was open sourcing the technology to anyone who wanted to make use of it, the article can be found here.  

  • Google Vision API - Image recognition and analysis API. Google photos can now organise photos by exact search criteria using image analysis.

  • - The service that uses image recognition software to distinguish what breed your pampered pooch is.

  • SecondHands - The robot built to assist technicians in Ocado's highly automated warehouses. For more reading material visit our blog.

  • SoMa - Soft manipulation technology designed to be able to carefully pick deformable items. For more reading material visit our blog.

References for the History of AI and Machine Learning:

  • Talos - the giant, bronze automaton that protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders, circling the island's shores three times daily. A detailed account of Talos can be found in the Argonautica, but detailed images from ~400 BC predate this by around 150 years.
  • Galatea - The statue of a woman Pygmalion carved out of ivory. After falling in love with his creation, he made offerings to Aphrodite, who later brought the statue to life. From Ovid's Metamorphoses.
  • Yan Shi - The engineer who presented King Mu of Zhou with a mechanical man. First recorded in the Liezi ~300BC.
  • Ramon Lull - author of The Ars Magna (published 1305). Now considered one of the forefathers of information science.
  • Pascal’s mechanical calculator - known as the arithmetic machine, the calculator was designed in the early 17th century by Blaise Pascal and was known for its revolutionary carry mechanism.
  • The Analytical Engine - Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace’s 19th century programmable mechanical calculator.
  • Ferranti Mark 1 - The first working AI programs were written in 1951 to run on the University of Manchester’s Ferranti Mark 1 machine: a checkers playing program written by Christopher Strachey and a chess playing program written by Dietrich Prinz.


Guests in order of appearance:

  • Duncan Russell - Research coordinator overseeing the Horizon 2020 projects; SecondHands and SoMa


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