Here’s a challenge: define artificial intelligence and list some examples of AI technology. Then ask your coworker, a friend, or a stranger to do the same.

I’ll bet your definitions and examples of AI don’t match. …


“How could this require an article?” you may ask.

“To delete files, you delete them, then they aren’t there anymore!”

Let’s try that — actually, let’s let someone on StackOverflow try that. We pick up with an image, tester/mytestfedora, that has a file in it to be deleted. The file…


Use BERT for smart string interpolation without deep learning experience

tl;dr Qordoba is open sourcing FitBERT, a library to make it easy for anyone who knows Python to use BERT (or other fancy deep learning NLP models) for string interpolation given a list of options.

If you follow NLP news, even peripherally, you have probably heard of BERT, Google’s very…


Or “How I Learned Just Enough About Unicode Implementations To Solve a Bug”

Photo by Fausto García on Unsplash

Last week, I was investigating a bug, and in the process learned quite a bit about Unicode. After identifying the source of the bug, I found more instances of it in the wild. I’m writing this piece to pass on what I learned. The bug shows up when you:

  • Have…

[NOTE, added 2020–01–02: This article is written in a jocular tone. It jokingly makes fun of PHP, because of a config change that Valet/Laravel used to make to your DNS. This made some PHP defenders crawl out of the woodwork to be mean to me. …


Interesting things are happening very quickly in the field of Natural Language Processing. To help me process them, and to try to be of use to the community, I will try to summarize them here. The target audience for this post is machine learning researchers and practitioners with some familiarity…


Though my background is in math and physics, I hadn’t used statistics in earnest for at least a decade when I started putting effort into understanding machine learning. One basic statistical concept that I did not have prior experience with was the bias vs variance tradeoff. It was referenced many…


Changing the dominant computing metaphor

N.B. I wrote this in early 2016. I got writer’s block and couldn’t finish it. I keep wanting to reference it, though, so I am just going to ship it! I hope you get something out of it despite how unrefined it is.

We should have stopped here.

In the 90s, Neal Stephenson wrote an…


Evans’ Procedure for predicting the value of new technology, and its applications to CarLabs

This essay is an attempt to turn Benedict Evans’ recent article, Not even wrong — ways to dismiss technology, into a procedure. It attempts to answer the question posed at the end of the following quote:

“It is unquestionably true that many of the most important technology advances looked like…


For some reason (🤔), a large portion of my friends are suddenly interested in basic security, such as encryption. This has forced me to reevaluate my own web security hygiene, because I love teaching and want to give my friends the best possible advice.

I will be the first to…

Sam Havens

Natural Language Processing, ex- math and physics. Director of Data Science at Writer.

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