IDG Contributor Network: Machine Intelligence: Build Your Own vs. as-a-Service

IDG Contributor Network: Machine Intelligence: Build Your Own vs. as-a-Service

Fans of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” may recall the plotline earlier this season in which Erlich Bachman secures $ 200,000 in VC funding for See Food, a camera app that recognizes various kinds of food and instantly surfaces useful information, such as nutritional data.

Bachman is 5% technologist and 95% charlatan, give or take, so naturally there’s a hitch: See Food doesn’t exist. The funding is the result of a misunderstanding that Bachman quickly compounded into a lie. Antics ensue as Bachman, determined to keep the money, attempts to transmute his vaporware into a working prototype.

Here’s what struck me: Many of these antics, such as Bachman’s attempt to con a class of Stanford undergrads into training a machine learning model, are predictably hilarious—but from a technical standpoint, virtually none of them is implausible.  

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