Running DeepDream on Video

I’ve been attempting to make DeepDream work but have been running into configuration problems on my Macbook. A friend suggested to try it on the cloud, which turned out to be a good idea since I’ve been successful so far in getting images processed by DeepDream following Dockerized instructions from the VISION AI team and a DigitalOcean droplet. If you haven’t created a DigitalOcean account, you can use my referral link to get a $10 credit.

I had to upgrade to the 4GB RAM, 2 CPU droplet just to make it work for 1080p since I was getting out-of-memory errors (error 173). However, it’s still taking roughly 17 minutes for each photo. At 7000 frames, it’s gonna take us 82 days just to finish processing all the frames. So I’m scaling it down to 1280 for now. I’ve signed up to AWS and Google Compute Platform since they offer GPU-enabled instances, but I’ve just learned that you need to request a manual quota increase so you can attach a GPU to your instances. Weird.

YouthHack: Women in Tech

I had a chance to speak to a crowd of senior high students, college students, and young professionals yesterday at YouthHack: Women in Tech about the importance of word choice in technology.

It was a great honor to be speaking alongside Dr. Reina Reyes, Ph.D — Astrophysicist, Data Scientist, and editor of the blog Pinoy Scientists, which features Filipino scientists making waves around the globe.

The Theory of Everything (2014)

Watching “The Theory of Everything” last night, what struck me the most was how empowering technology can be when designed to fit the needs of people with disabilities. Without his hand clicker (later a cheek muscle interface) and computerized voice, he would not have been able to share his insights with the world.

While not everyone has Stephen Hawking’s intellect, you can just imagine how much potential is left untapped in millions of people with sensory or motor disabilities.

Plants Talk to Each Other Using an Internet of Fungus

Mycelium running through soil (Credit: Nigel Cattlin / Alamy

I came across an interesting article over at BBC about how plants talk to each other using an “internet of fungus”. While the science itself is interesting, what caught my attention was the headline’s refreshing use of metaphor. It’s much more common to use nature metaphors to communicate technological concepts, e.g. “fertile ground for innovation”, “tech ecosystem”, “computer virus”, than it is to do it the other way around. I particularly love the phrase “Internet of fungus”.

Machine Learning, Week 4

In between writing my ebook about microcopy, speaking engagements, projects for Tempest’s clients, and learning to unicycle, I’ve been plodding through Dr. Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning Course. It’s been slow going because whenever I don’t get to work on the course for more than three days, I tend to forget what I just learned. That adds an extra hour of two just to get my bearings.

Thankfully, with what little diligence I could muster, I’ve been able to finish Week 4 of the course even though it took much longer than an actual calendar week. I find that it helps if I draw the neural nets and matrices on a small whiteboard. Otherwise, my limited cognitive capacity gets overloaded by the linear algebra operations.

Admittedly, I’m struggling with the math parts of the course. But I’m motivated by the idea of creating artificial intelligences and understanding the mind a little better by building one of my own. I feel like I’m a mad scientist.

Tagalog Imperialism

Around 8 or 9 years ago, I bought Rodolfe Cabonce’s English-Cebuano dictionary. At that time, “nagtuon ko og Cebuano” because I was curious about one of our country’s major languages (if you say “dialect,” you’re wrong and should be punched in the face). It was a lot of fun because it was different enough to be interesting but similar enough that I didn’t have to learn a whole new set of grammatical constructs.
It taught me that there wasn’t anything inherently superior about my mother tongue, Tagalog, and helped me appreciate the different accents with which we speak it around the country.

So this brouhaha about our bar exams allegedly lowering their standards just because the top 10 didn’t come from Luzon reflects a disturbing attitude of entitlement, insecurity, and ignorance that should no longer exist in this day and age. It’s been more than 100 years since we left Hispanic rule but their divide and conquer tactics still linger.

Can we stop this idiocy, fellow Manileños and Luzonistas? Maybe just accept that some people did well and it just so happened they lived South of us? Let’s not be complacent and entitled just because we’re in the capital.