We Demand More Like Andrew Ng!

Just learned Andrew Ng will start a deep learning coursera class . I’m very excited to hear it. From my shallow experience and knowledge in industry and academia, we as a healthy society need or should demand such serious education effort.

Thanks to the huge success from Fei-Fei Li’s ImageNet, the deep learning that Jeff Hinton visioned and started, and carried on by Joshua Bengio and Yann LeCunn, made household known by DeepMind’s AlphaGo. Now almost everywhere people talk about machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, etc. In particular, industry across fields has been embracing such technology like never before. All the sudden, small startups of a few people with a few know-hows get acquired, the speed of such acquisition is also unprecedented. ¬†Money, vanity, etc fly high like all the old shows/bubbles we have seen in the past decades. Yet, I don’t think it is a bubble. Deep learning is for real and will revolutionize many industries, unleash human potential just like what electricity did on our humanity. All in all, there are a few cloud that could upend such prosperity.

The first is there is huge disparity between what industries need and what the talent could offer. Like Thomas Freeman once said(loosely cite here), breakthrough is what desperately needed meet all the sudden available. The human society need a long overdue efficiency upgrade, especially after internet. In 2012, deep learning came out seemingly nowhere. All the sudden many things seemingly only human can solve were solved by this mysterious thing called deep learning. The talents became the blood/resource that everybody want. Yet, in large part, the whole academia world wasn’t there for the nurturing and birth of deep learning of course can’t produce enough such talents. But demands just keep piling up. So we end up with lots of expedite “talents”. Among few real talents, there are a lot of less well-trained, who were exposed to too cozy environment/problems. Undoubtedly many of them will not be able to live up the industry demands in many ways. Sooner or later, disappointments will be everyone’s focus.

The second is that academia really don’t have time to prepare the whole field with strong and solid theory foundation. We still don’t know why deep learning works, there are some educated guesses, but a clear explanation is absent. I haven’t seen any great advancement sustain ups and downs with no mathematics¬†foundation.

I should stop here, too much nagging. What I want to say is that we as a society should demand more people like Andrew Ng and even beyond. Things happen for a reason and exist for reasons too, our society need demand more to advance humanity.

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