Learning about machine learning and neural networks can seem daunting. It sounds hugely complex and out of reach of learning for some people, but it doesn't have to be..
For help, look no further than that furry, anti-social, hissing, fish-loving, saber-toothed, 'not so sure if he would kill you if he/she were bigger', head-butting, tinkle-tush wearing (yes that is a real thing, Google it), box pooping, hairball coughing, carboard box loving, butt licking, personal space invading idiot of a feline friend of yours.
So what do Cats have to do with machine learning again? Well, it all begins with a quest to learn more about how machine learning works.
So far, AWS has a done a great job of abstracting some of the most popular models for machine learning and made them available as off-the-shelve services which means that in order to use them, all you need to do is interface with the API for that particular service.
But if you are just beginning your quest to understand machine learning that isn't a great place to start, is it?
YouTube is obviously a great way of picking up the concepts of machine learning and how neural networks learn. Here are some of the best I have seen so far:
It get's way more complex after that first video!
And good ole Lex Fridman from MIT
Here is Lex's Podcast btw, you can listen to him right here on the elastic guru.
#183 – Po-Shen Loh: Mathematics, Math Olympiad, Combinatorics & Contact Tracing
The Lex Fridman Podcast
But is it all still fairly complicated and it is likely that you'll hit that steep learning curve and maybe give this whole machine learning and neural network thing a miss.
Machine learning and neural networks (including AI) are going to be big (they are already biiiiiiig) and knowing about it can only pay dividends in the future, trust me, your future self with definitely thank you for it.
Personally, I am a very visual learner. I take lots in when I can see it conceptually and when I can play with it and see the results, with that in mind, the one thing that I enjoyed the most when learning more about machine learning, was a game called while True: learn()
while True: learn() is a puzzle/simulation game about even more puzzling stuff: machine learning, neural networks, big data and AI. But most importantly, it’s about understanding your cat.
In this game, you play as a coder who accidentally found out that their cat is extremely good at coding, but not as good at speaking human language. Now this coder (it’s you!) must learn all there is to know about machine learning and use visual programming to build a cat-to-human speech recognition system.
👆 At least you know now where the cat fits into all this.
Here is a brief demo of the gameplay:
while true: learn() has great reviews on steam and trust me, you don't need to be technical at all to play it.
The creation of while true: learn() also has a fantastic back story.
I'll give you one hour with the game before it click, you'll know the basics of machine learning and neural networks without reading a single blog post.