Machine Learning Ballyhoo

Are you getting a bit tired with all the machine learning ballyhoo?

You can blame it all on a German mathematician(*), Carl Friedrich Gauss, who started the futuristic “mega-trend” back in 1809: He showed us how to “train” a straight line to pass nicely through a cloud of unruly, scattered data points. To find, in effect, a path of least embarrassment.

Two+ centuries later it is still a profitable enterprise to invent elaborate variations of that theme, now going under the more exalted name of “supervised learning“, which may or may not include “deep learning”. Instead of a linear function we use more complex (non-linear) siblings but conceptually the difference is only a minor technicality.

What would Gauss think of the current hype cycle? Would he be the founder of the mysterious and world-conquering #AI startup gauss.ai? Or would he, as he did in his own time, lament “das Geschrei der Böotier” (the outcry of the Boeotians) and focus on delivering something of lasting value?

(*) Keeping with EU power balance you can alternatively blame it on a French mathematician: Adrien-Marie Legendre – who in any case did publish first