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    Setting our heart-attack-predicting AI loose with “no-code” tools / ArsTechnica · 4 days ago - 13:00 · 1 minute

Ahhh, the easy button!

Enlarge / Ahhh, the easy button! (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

This is the second episode in our exploration of "no-code" machine learning. In our first article , we laid out our problem set and discussed the data we would use to test whether a highly automated ML tool designed for business analysts could return cost-effective results near the quality of more code-intensive methods involving a bit more human-driven data science.

If you haven't read that article, you should go back and at least skim it . If you're all set, let's review what we'd do with our heart attack data under "normal" (that is, more code-intensive) machine learning conditions and then throw that all away and hit the "easy" button.

As we discussed previously, we're working with a set of cardiac health data derived from a study at the Cleveland Clinic Institute and the Hungarian Institute of Cardiology in Budapest (as well as other places whose data we've discarded for quality reasons). All that data is available in a repository we've created on GitHub, but its original form is part of a repository of data maintained for machine learning projects by the University of California-Irvine. We're using two versions of the data set: a smaller, more complete one consisting of 303 patient records from the Cleveland Clinic and a larger (597 patient) database that incorporates the Hungarian Institute data but is missing two of the types of data from the smaller set.

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    No code, no problem—we try to beat an AI at its own game with new tools / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 August - 13:00 · 1 minute

Is our machine learning yet?

Enlarge / Is our machine learning yet?

Over the past year, machine learning and artificial intelligence technology have made significant strides. Specialized algorithms, including OpenAI's DALL-E, have demonstrated the ability to generate images based on text prompts with increasing canniness. Natural language processing (NLP) systems have grown closer to approximating human writing and text. And some people even think that an AI has attained sentience . (Spoiler alert: It has not .)

And as Ars' Matt Ford recently pointed out here , artificial intelligence may be artificial, but it's not "intelligence"—and it certainly isn't magic. What we call "AI" is dependent upon the construction of models from data using statistical approaches developed by flesh-and-blood humans, and it can fail just as spectacularly as it succeeds. Build a model from bad data and you get bad predictions and bad output—just ask the developers of Microsoft's Tay Twitterbot about that.

For a much less spectacular failure, just look to our back pages. Readers who have been with us for a while, or at least since the summer of 2021, will remember that time we tried to use machine learning to do some analysis—and didn't exactly succeed. ("It turns out 'data-driven' is not just a joke or a buzzword," said Amazon Web Services Senior Product Manager Danny Smith when we checked in with him for some advice. "'Data-driven' is a reality for machine learning or data science projects!") But we learned a lot, and the biggest lesson was that machine learning succeeds only when you ask the right questions of the right data with the right tool.

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    How to get started with machine learning and AI / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 22 June - 13:00 · 1 minute

"It's a cookbook?!"

Enlarge / "It's a cookbook?!" (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

"Artificial Intelligence" as we know it today is, at best, a misnomer. AI is in no way intelligent, but it is artificial. It remains one of the hottest topics in industry and is enjoying a renewed interest in academia. This isn't new—the world has been through a series of AI peaks and valleys over the past 50 years. But what makes the current flurry of AI successes different is that modern computing hardware is finally powerful enough to fully implement some wild ideas that have been hanging around for a long time.

Back in the 1950s, in the earliest days of what we now call artificial intelligence, there was a debate over what to name the field. Herbert Simon, co-developer of both the logic theory machine and the General Problem Solver , argued that the field should have the much more anodyne name of “complex information processing.” This certainly doesn’t inspire the awe that “artificial intelligence” does, nor does it convey the idea that machines can think like humans.

However, "complex information processing" is a much better description of what artificial intelligence actually is: parsing complicated data sets and attempting to make inferences from the pile. Some modern examples of AI include speech recognition (in the form of virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa) and systems that determine what's in a photograph or recommend what to buy or watch next. None of these examples are comparable to human intelligence, but they show we can do remarkable things with enough information processing.

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    How we learned to break down barriers to machine learning / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 19 May - 16:12

Dr. Sephus discusses breaking down barriers to machine learning at Ars Frontiers 2022. Click here for transcript . (video link)

Welcome to the week after Ars Frontiers! This article is the first in a short series of pieces that will recap each of the day's talks for the benefit of those who weren't able to travel to DC for our first conference. We'll be running one of these every few days for the next couple of weeks, and each one will include an embedded video of the talk (along with a transcript).

For today's recap, we're going over our talk with Amazon Web Services tech evangelist Dr. Nashlie Sephus. Our discussion was titled "Breaking Barriers to Machine Learning."

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    Ars Frontiers is next week—here’s what’s on tap at our first conference / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 3 May - 13:00

Ars Frontiers is next week—here’s what’s on tap at our first conference

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

As we noted a couple of weeks ago with our announcement post , we're fast approaching the date for Ars Frontiers , our inaugural single-day conference. The event will be held next week, on May 12, in Washington, DC.

We're going to be exploring the interconnectedness of innovation—looking at how the things that change our world are interlinked. As we peer into our crystal balls, we're also going to try to answer a very pressing question: Can we still drive explosive growth in these fields while prioritizing ethical technology and sustainability?

Because conversation emboldens innovation, we've assembled a room full of subject matter experts in areas like human space flight, machine learning, information security, and bioscience to help us prognosticate. At Frontiers, Ars Technica editors will sit down and interact with those experts, and we'd love to have you on board for the ride. More details on how to request an invite to join us in person can be found at the end of this announcement.

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    Paul Sutter explores the origins of life, and DNA versus RNA / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 20 April - 13:00

Produced and directed by Corey Eisenstein. Click here for transcript . (video link)

After spending three episodes looking to the heavens—first at dark matter , then Mars , then black holes —our intrepid host Paul Sutter now turns his gaze to a more terrestrial topic: Why are we here?

And I don't mean in a Nietzschean sense (and if it's Nietzschean discussions you want, Ars Deputy Editor Nate Anderson has you covered in his upcoming book on Nietzsche !)—Paul's question is much more physical. Why are we here, specifically—we complex, multicellular sentient beings made of gobs and gobs of proteins and self-replicating DNA? Why is life a thing? How, billions of years ago, did Earth go from a planet devoid of life to a planet festooned with it?

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    Ars Frontiers lands in Washington, DC: Space, science, AI, and more / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 14 April - 12:00 · 1 minute

Ars Frontiers lands in Washington, DC: Space, science, AI, and more

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Ars Technica is pleased to announce its inaugural single-day Frontiers conference , to be held this May 12 in Washington, DC. The conference will explore the interconnectedness of innovation in today's most pressing matters. As we do so, we will be exploring one key question: Can we still drive explosive growth in these fields while prioritizing ethical technology and sustainability?

We're trying something a little different here, but with the Ars ethos in mind: Conversation emboldens innovation. Readers who stop by the front page every day already know that Ars Technica is the web’s premier destination for smart talk about the intersection of science, technology, policy, climate, and culture. We're excited to bring this approach to you in a venue and format that will both entertain and elucidate. At Ars Frontiers, our editors will interact with real-world experts who span several interconnected topics and offer real-life networking opportunities. While this will be an invite-only event, several of the sessions will be livestreamed on Twitter. More details on how to request an invite to join us in person can be found at the end of this announcement.

Let’s talk about who’s coming, and what they’re going to talk about.

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    Slaw Device is back: RH Rotor Pedals rule the skies—for $475 / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 13 April - 11:00

The new hotness: RH Rotors at right, compared to older RX Vipers at left.

Enlarge / The new hotness: RH Rotors at right, compared to older RX Vipers at left. (credit: Lee Hutchinson)

It's always exciting to see an e-mail pop up from Wiaczesław Oziabło—better known as the "Slaw" behind Slaw Device . An engineer and purveyor of high-end flight control pedals for the "crazy enthusiast" market, he’s famous for producing devices that look less like computer peripherals and more like gleaming metallic works of art.

It's even more exciting when that e-mail promises something new and cool. "After a long break," Oziabło wrote, "we continued and finished preparations for the production of RH Rotor rudder pedals. At the moment, I have several sets of these rudder pedals, which were only used for photos and videos." He offered to send me one of the near-final preproduction models for review, noting that it will have only minor differences from the production-run devices.

I accepted immediately, and a couple of weeks later, DHL deposited a heavy box on my front porch. In it was Slaw Device’s latest offering: the RH Rotor pedals.

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