Books‎ > ‎Computing‎ > ‎

Data Science

Deep Learning with Python by François Chollet is for readers with a reasonable amount of Python experience, but no significant knowledge of machine learning and deep learning. It will take you all the way from basic theory to advanced practical applications. However, if you already have experience with deep learning, you should still be able to find value in the latter chapters.

This book is a series of code examples, of real world problems. The concrete examples turn theoretical ideas into results and tangible code patterns. These examples rely on Keras, the Python deep learning library. The author released the initial version of Keras which has become one of the most widely used deep learning frameworks. Part of that success is that Keras is easy to use. Keras is a good library to get started with deep learning.

The author writes: "Although deep learning has led to remarkable achievements in recent years, expectations for what the field will be able to achieve in the next decade tend to run much higher than what will actually turn out to be possible. While some world-changing applications like autonomous cars are already within reach, many more are likely to remain elusive for a long time, such as believable dialogue systems, human-level machine translation across arbitrary languages, and human-level natural language understanding. In particular, talk of "human-level general intelligence" should not be taken too seriously. The risk with high expectations for the short term is that, as technology fails to deliver, research investment will dry up, slowing down progress for a long time.This has happened before. Twice in the past, AI went through a cycle of intense optimism followed by disappointment and skepticism, and a dearth of funding as a result.
It started with symbolic AI in the 1960s. In these early days, projections about AI were flying high. One of the best known pioneers and proponents of the symbolic AI approach was Marvin Minsky, who claimed in 1967: "Within a generation […] the problem of creating 'artificial intelligence' will substantially be solved". Three years later, in 1970, he also made a more precisely quantified prediction: "in from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being". In 2016, such an achievement still appears to be far in the future, so far in fact that we have no way to predict how long it will take, but in the 1960s and early 1970s, several experts believed it to be right around the corner (and so do many people today). A few years later, as these high expectations failed to materialize, researchers and government funds turned away from the field, marking the start of the first "AI winter" (a reference to a nuclear winter,as this was shortly after the height of the Cold War). It wouldn’t be the last one. In the 1980s, a new take on symbolic AI, "expert systems", started gathering steam among large companies. A few initial success stories triggered a wave of investment, with corporations around the world starting their own in-house AI departments to develop expert systems. Around 1985, companies were spending over a billion dollar a year on the technology, but by the early 1990s, these systems had proven expensive to maintain, difficult to scale, and limited in scope, and interest died down. Thus began the second AI winter. It might be that we are currently witnessing the third cycle of AI hype and disappointment—and we are still in the phase of intense optimism. The best attitude to adopt is to moderate our expectations for the short term, and make sure that people less familiar with the technical side of the field still have a clear idea of what deep learning can and cannot deliver."