Google wants to make AI easier to use, starting with image recognition

Cesar Mills
January 18, 2018

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Google released a tool that lets users create their own machine learning algorithms without having to code.

"Our goal was to lower the barrier of entry and make AI available to the largest possible community of developers, researchers and businesses", Google Cloud AI's Fei-Fei Li and Jia Li said in the post. Are customers billed by the complexity of the model needed? Businesses can then use these as the basis for their solutions, but the reality is - for businesses in retail, healthcare and finance, [for example] - that customers still need to customise their models. "It doesn't solve the specific problems for different industries in different scenarios", she added.

The company claims this will make it faster, easier and more accurate to develop image recognition applications than going it alone.

According to Google, Cloud AutoML is a suite of Machine Learning products that enables developers with limited machine learning expertise to train high quality models by leveraging Google's state of the art transfer learning, and Neural Architecture Search technology.

The company claims the setup has been shown to make fewer mistakes when identifying images of objects uploaded to the service than those based on more generic machine learning APIs.

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Microsoft's Azure Machine Learning Studio is a "simple browser-based, visual drag-and-drop authoring environment where no coding is necessary".

While the company has made some progress on this front, Li said the skills that businesses need to really take advantage of AI and machine learning are still in short supply.

Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon have recruited individuals who have an expertise in machine learning techniques.

This is the reason why Google is moving towards automated models of machine learning, where a business can just bring its entire data-set to the Cloud AutoML Vision API and create an AI system for their needs.

Rajen Sheth, a Google Cloud senior director of product management for AI, said during a press briefing that Disney (dis) used the service to improve the search results of its online shop. Conservationists at the Zoological Society of London, meanwhile, are hoping to automatically categorize animals that pass by wildlife cameras. Currently, the ZSL uses people to manually analyze and annotate millions of images per year, " which is a labour-intensive and expensive process", says Sophie Maxwell, ZSL's conservation technology lead. The service will start with still images, but Google plans to expand this technology to all of its AI offerings, such as translation and video processing.

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