Four short links: 27 April 2017

Open Source Mail Delivery, Superhuman AI, Probabilistic Graphical Models, and Golden Ages

By Nat Torkington
April 27, 2017
  1. PostalA fully featured open source mail delivery platform for incoming & outgoing e-mail, like SendGrid but open source. I enjoyed this comment on Hacker News, where the commenter talks about turning a $1K/mo mail bill into $4/mo by running their own mail infrastructure. (Downside: you would need to get yourself familiar with SMTP, postfix, SPF/DKIM, mx-validation, blacklists, etc. And by “familiar,” I mean “learn it to the core.”)
  2. The Myth of a Superhuman AI (Kevin Kelly) — he makes a good argument that buried in this scenario of a takeover of superhuman artificial intelligence are five assumptions that, when examined closely, are not based on any evidence. These claims might be true in the future, but there is no evidence to date to support them.
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  4. Probabilistic Graphical Models — CS228 course notes turned into a concise introductory course […]. This course starts by introducing probabilistic graphical models from the very basics and concludes by explaining from first principles the variational auto-encoder, an important probabilistic model that is also one of the most influential recent results in deep learning.
  5. Watch It While It Lasts: Our Golden Age of TelevisionThe Parisian golden age [of art] emerged out of the collapse of a system that penalized artistic innovation. For most of the 19th century, the Académie des Beaux-Arts, a state-sanctioned institution, dominated the production and consumption of French art. A jury of academicians decided which paintings were exhibited at the Salon, the main forum for collectors to view new work. The academy set strict rules on artistic expression, and preferred idealized scenes from classical mythology to anything resembling contemporary life. For the most part, the art that resulted was staid and predictable, painted by skilled but anonymous technicians. It sure doesn’t feel like we’re in a golden age of technology innovation, and I sure recognize a lot of the VC horde mentality in the Académie description.
Post topics: Four Short Links