Dr Damien Teney is teaching a machine to talk to you about the picture you’ve just taken.
By combining algorithms for computer vision and natural language at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML), he’s making software that captions the picture and answers questions about it.
“With such a system, a blind person could snap a picture on their phone and ask an app questions such as ‘is it sunny outside’, or ‘what’s in the can of food I am holding’,” Damien says.
The awesome potential of machine learning
The applications for machine learning are endless. Research at the institute includes analysing hip X-rays, identifying space debris in orbit, and auto-composing music.
“Each application has its specific aspects, but the underlying techniques often have a wide applicability,” says Damien. “It makes research in machine learning so exciting.”
Explore your options
AIML hosts students who want to use their final year to work on practical applications. For younger students, Damien says that there are plenty of free, online resources to explore and upskill.
Damien recommends learning the Python programming language and practising on tutorials such as those in the scikit-learn library. A solid mathematical background in school and the first years of uni, is important too.
“Whatever passion you have, there is probably an exciting way to apply machine learning to it,” says Damien.
– KJ Lee
TO GET THERE: adelaide.edu.au/aiml
Want to explore AI for yourself? Try these machine learning games and activities
Machine learning as a concept can be difficult to wrap your head around. We’ve compiled a list of games and activities that will clarify how machine learning works – with some pretty cool outcomes!
Using your computer’s camera, machine learning games like Teachable Machine learn to respond with a cat gif when you wave your hand, or say “Hello” when you poke your tongue out. This machine gets smarter with more data, so take plenty of images to see your artificial intelligence really hit its stride.
Are you a Pictionary champ? Challenge your drawing skills against this guessing game, where an AI tries to decipher what you’ve drawn. Behind the scenes, the AI is comparing thousands of pictures against your doodle to try and find a match.
3. Challenge your friends to a game of noughts and crosses with this unbeatable unplugged AI
This unplugged AI has never been beaten at a game of noughts and crosses. And we mean never!
Download and print this sheet of paper and challenge your friends to play against the artificial intelligence’s rules. We guarantee they’ll never win.
This AI operates in the same way a computer based AI does, with a set of instructions and rules. It’s the same sort of technology behind computers that can play chess!
Author: Katie Lee
KJ Lee is a researcher and science writer in Brisbane, Australia.