Saturday, June 23, 2018

Not From Earth

Where Is Everbody?


Most people are familiar with Fermi's Paradox. As the story goes, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, famous for creating the first nuclear reactor, asked a simple question at a casual lunch in 1950. "Where's Everybody?" That simple question has had extraterrestrial researchers scratching their heads in the decades since.

The numbers don't lie. We are alone in the universe, and yet that is impossible. So let's play a game. Pretend that we are not alone, but compared to most advanced civilizations, we are far behind, millions of years behind. And the reason we can't see all the action is that we are isolated. There is a veil surrounding the Earth. The galaxy wants us to catch up, become civilized and then we are welcome. 

If this is true, then there is a good chance that aliens walk among us. Perhaps there are hybrid humans as well. They could be our guides or simply observers. 

Now let's suppose Artificial Intelligence was able to unmask the veil, or at least help us spot those Aliens among us with advanced machine learning and image recognition. 

This brings us to the Not From Earth mobile App. This App works with Watson and the latest Apple technologies such as CoreML to let us spot those outsiders with our cell phone cameras. Just point and click, and artificial intelligence provides a probability of the subject being Human or Alien. 

Behind the scenes, this App is complicated. But the result is fascinating. It uses Watson, CoreML, Augmented Reality, Visual Recognition, Machine Learning and more. 

We have an advance beta copy of the App. It is scheduled for release in Aug 2018

Here are some of the features we have identified:

1. Use your Camera or Photo Gallary to hunt for aliens. 
2. The App does a pretty good job of identifying all objects, such as Labrador retrievers. So something pretty heavy is going on with this App.  
3. The App only accepts individual profiles. If two people are in the image, it tells you it needs one face only. 
4. It thinks Octopus are a form of alien visitors. Not sure why, but hundreds of scientists believe this could be true based on DNA testing. 
5. There is a video mode that uses augmented reality. You move the camera around and if it spots a face, it will categorize the person as human or alien. 
6. There is an exposure feature that attempts to unmask the Alien with trained style transfer effects. 
7. There is a share feature for posting the results to Facebook or Twitter or just Messaging or emailing the results. 

Does Best Camera believe there are Aliens on Earth? We just review Apps and technology. But the App is kind of addicting and fun. It's a game. Some people are calling it a Pick-Up App because it's so easy to get people's attention. "Are you from Earth?" That alone is a conversation starter and you follow up with the App. 

Follow Best Camera for immediate notification when Not From Earth is available. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Prisma Style Transfers



According to their website, the Prisma App has been installed over 100 million times. This App converts your photos into artwork using styles of famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. 

They use neural networks and artificial intelligence for creating timeless art from your own photos. I must admit that's pretty cool. But how do they do it? How do they create and release these image effects? And how do they make them work with any image?

My first hint was when they said they use artificial intelligence. Apple loves Prisma. They named Prisma the iPhone 2016 App of the year. And now Apple has released CoreML technology for working for both image recognition as well as image style transfers. CoreML uses this same kind of trained models for image recognition and image to art.  They call this machine learning. 

So where do these models come from? They have to be trained. You can just buy Prisma, but if you are into coding, you need to get your hands on transfer style models. There are technologies like Tensor Flow that can help. There's been a lot of progress in this area lately thanks to graphics processing units (GPUs). This has led to Deep Learning and the complex multi-level neural networks for creating models.

But there are two kinds of models. Those for image recognition and those for image style transfers. It is the style transfers that are used by Apps like Prisma. In order to create style transfer model, an artist or developer needs a style image and a content image. An example of a style image is the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh shown below. A content image is any image you want to start with. Once the model is created, users can transfer the style of any other image, not just the content image.



If you are working with IOS, you will need to convert the model to CoreML. There are various tools for doing this. The bottom line is that creative artists are able to use tools and existing art to create transfer models that are able to change the style of images into a form of art. The new art is similar to the style image used to create the model. What fun! 

I will be reviewing other Apps using AI models for image recognition and style transfer in future reviews. In the mean time, grab Prisma and have some fun. 



Friday, June 15, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Myth


It makes sense. Are we overusing the name Artificial Intelligence for marketing?





Monday, June 11, 2018

kauai Adventure

I'm back with new blog ideas. I was in Kauai doing research if you can believe that.







Thursday, May 10, 2018

If it works, it works

The funny thing about programming is that if it works, it works and the debate is over. It doesn't matter how smart they are when they tell you it won't work. If it works, it works. But then they will ask if it's scaleable. 






Saturday, May 5, 2018

Best Advice for Programmers Ever. The Dangerous Truth!

I love this article. It is the best advice for skilled programmers I have read in along time. The article makes a great point. It's worth reading

The fantastic truth is that code has become a Sanskrit like language



Saturday, April 21, 2018

No nonsense Free Audio Playback of any Kindle or IBook



"I recently purchased a Kindle book and noticed that Audible offered a free audio version. But eventually I discovered it was not free and they had me signed up for a subscription. You know, those sneaky little leaks that gradually drain your bank account when you are not watching. Buyer Beware!"

I hijacked this article from here: Free Audio Playback of any Kindle or iBook

Here's a quick guide to enabling free, no subscription playback with page turning.

Open Settings and General->Accessibility->Speech->Speak Screen  then Enable Speak Screen. Below on the same screen, you are able to select from voices.  Then use a two finger swipe down from the top within your Kindle or iBook App.