“Not what but why?”

Here’s a great talk from Barbara Engelhardt about “open box” machine learning applied to genomics and other medical research:

She convincingly shows the need for domain expertise in building models that help explain the world around us. I love her description of this kind of work as “detective work”. That is also reflected in the Science article from last year, “The AI detectives“. She also has a deep personal connection to questions she is trying to answer with her research, having lost her mother to Lewy Body Dementia. (My father passed away last year from this poorly understood disease.)

Along with these, here’s some excellent work on adversarial attacks on an end-to-end speech transcription system (Deep Speech): http://nicholas.carlini.com/code/audio_adversarial_examples/

Listen to the sound examples and their hilarious transcriptions! I don’t believe speech transcription systems that use “laboriously engineered processing pipelines” would be so susceptible. It can pay to understand a domain and build invariances into a pipeline rather than try to learn everything from data.


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