34 episodes

What is Artificial Intelligence? It's a big part of our daily lives and you want to know. You need to know. But the explanations are so long and boring. Let me give you something short and sweet.

Join me, Dr. Peper, for 5 minute, pleasing, and easy to understand flash talks about everything artificial intelligence. Short and Sweet AI.

Short And Sweet AI Dr. Peper

    • Technology
    • 5.0, 3 Ratings

What is Artificial Intelligence? It's a big part of our daily lives and you want to know. You need to know. But the explanations are so long and boring. Let me give you something short and sweet.

Join me, Dr. Peper, for 5 minute, pleasing, and easy to understand flash talks about everything artificial intelligence. Short and Sweet AI.

    What is Quantum Computing? part 2

    What is Quantum Computing? part 2

    From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper and today I’m discussing more about quantum computing.

    Regular computers use a binary system of ones and zeros or bits. Quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits which exist in superposition and make them very powerful. Quantum computing is a very different technology from anything we’ve seen because qubits can exist in two states at once. They can be like a coin that is spinning and is both heads and tails at once. In order to explain how this could exist, quantum computing which is based on quantum physics has created theories of the existence of parallel universes. In a parallel universe you could have a coin be heads and in a separate parallel universe, it could be tails. Yeah, this stuff gets pretty crazy, very fast.

    In the previous podcast I talked about the super powerful state of superposition. And I talked about entanglements where multiple qubits are physically separated but act like they’re entangled and give similar results. Added to that is this is all taking place in a computer which looks like a fantastic chandelier, made that way in order to create very cold conditions similar to outer space. Absolute zero, outerspace.

    But are quantum computers a reality? There are many groups all over the world working on this technology: IBM, Google, Intel, the Chinese government, the US government, private start up groups such as Rigetti Computing and more. All these groups have been working feverishly for the ultimate breakthrough. Then in 2019 Google announced its’ quantum computer had solved a mathematical problem in 3 minutes 32 seconds. It would have taken the most powerful, existing supercomputer more than 10,000 years to solve the problem. That’s the difference in magnitude and power between a regular supercomputer and a quantum computer.

    As the scientists explained, the answer to the problem wasn’t important, it really didn’t do anything.  But what the Google quantum computer accomplished was the same as the Wright brothers first plane flight. It showed that quantum computing was really possible even though its true potential is years in the future.

    What’s holding the technology back? Well, quantum type problems. Qubits are very sensitive and must be shielded from heat, electrical interference, and other metals, and cooled down to just above absolute zero in order to complete their calculations. And you need at least 50 qubits to have a quantum computer but groups of qubits are very fragile and can fall apart or de-cohere. This leads to errors in the calculations.

    Scientists are confident they will solve these problems in the next decade and then we will really see what these computers can do. That goes back to how qubits work. They’re very powerful because they can deal with uncertainty. And that’s how the laws of atoms and subatomic particles called quantum physics work. In nature, things smaller than the atom are not always on or off. They don’t follow the laws of larger things in nature such as gravity, relativity or E equals MC squared. With regular computers if you want to solve a maze, it will go down every single path, one after the other, until it finds the right one. A quantum computer works by the laws of subatomic particles and goes down every path at once because it can operate with uncertainty; it can hold each alternative path as a possibility. 

    Technology this powerful can be used to simulate large complicated problems with uncertainty such as forecast financial markets, find better products such as batteries for self-driving cars, new drugs for medications, or even using quantum computing to understand quantum physics. And cryptography will be saved by quantum computing. New quantum encryption uses the uncertainty principle where everything influences th...

    • 5 min
    What is Quantum Computing?

    What is Quantum Computing?

    From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper and today I’m talking about one of the most challenging ideas I’ve ever discussed, quantum computing.

    Quantum computing excites and perplexes me. It has all these strange, science fiction parts to it such as superposition, entanglement, parallel universes, yes, I said parallel universes, temperatures as cold a deep space, well, just above absolute zero really, and of course qubits. And quantum computers have been described as looking like steampunk chandeliers.

    Quantum Bits = Qubits

    Let’s start with qubits. In traditional computers, information is coded as binary units which are either ones or zeros and referred to as bits. They’re like tiny switches that can be either in the off position, represented by a zero, or in the on position, represented by a one. Computers are made up of millions of these bits in some combination of ones and zeros. This binary system is how our phones, apps, websites and the internet work. Quantum computing is completely different. It involves a philosophical leap really. It involves the idea that a single object can be in two states at the same time, so it can be a one and a zero at the same time, or it can be on and off at the same time. I know, it sounds crazy.


    Take a coin for example, if you flip a coin, it can be either heads or tails. But during the flip, the coin is spinning and is in both states at once, heads and tails at the same time. This is called superposition. Quantum computing stores a combination of one and zeros in both states, on and off, at once, in the form of qubits. Quantum computers are powered by collections of qubits in superposition and that’s what makes them so powerful.


    The other thing qubits do is called entanglement. When two particles are linked together in quantum computing it’s called entanglement even if they’re physically separate. Normally when you flip a coin, tossing one coin won’t affect the next coin toss. But in quantum computing, two spinning coins can be linked together and if one comes up heads, the other one will also come up heads.Then if you can string together multiple qubits you can tackle the problems that even our best computers can’t solve.

    But quantum computers are not really just about doing things faster or more efficiently. They can do things we can’t even dream of, things our everyday supercomputers can’t possibly do.

    Light Bulb, Not Candle

    A quantum physicist, Shohini Ghose, says a quantum computer is not just a more powerful supercomputer just as a light bulb is not a more powerful version of a candle. You cannot build a light bulb by building better and better candles. A light bulb is a different technology just as quantum computing is a different technology. Having a lot more candles won’t achieve the same effect of what a light bulb can do because they’re two different technologies. And just like a light bulb transformed society, quantum computers have the potential to impact many, many different aspects of our lives.


    Quantum computing is so strange, so futuristic, so exuberant, really, I love it. To me it’s what the science fiction guru, Arthur C. Clarke, was thinking about when he said, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    There’s so much more to discuss about qubits, quantum computing, and the space race to quantum supremacy in my next episode.

    Until then, from Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper.

    • 4 min
    A Physician during COVID

    A Physician during COVID

    From short and sweet AI, I’m Dr Peper.

    I’ve interrupted my podcasts in the last few weeks in order to do what my first passion is, be a physician and care for patients as we’ve experienced a COVID surge in my area. I’ve had to be available 24/7 to provide care to my patients, discuss things with nursing staff and facility staff and speak with families about their loved ones.

    The families, they are very worried, scared, not being able to see their mother or father who are living in these facilities but are on lockdown. Patients are in their rooms eating, meals in their rooms, not able to come out to participate in activities in order to protect them and keep them safe from the COVID virus.

    It’s been a very humbling and sad few weeks as many of my patients have died. My team and I at these facilities have worked to make sure that in these, that in unwanted and really complicated situations, they have the best death possible and are able to pass away in what is essentially their homes being taken care of by caregivers who know them with hospice services available to them.

    But despite all these efforts, they do end up dying without their families being present. They die separated from their families. They don’t die alone. The caregivers and nursing staff are there which um brings some comfort to know. And there are many, many people working very bravely and very difficult jobs to ensure the safety and try keep these frail, vulnerable residents safe. So all my time and attention has been my patients in the past few weeks but before all this crescendoed in just a short time, I was working on a podcast about an AI researcher known as, um, called Geoffrey Hinton. He’s someone in the field of artificial intelligence who is known as the godfather of AI. And there were similar resonating themes from what I was learning about him and his life and what we’re experiencing now.

    Things such well, mainly perseverance and dedication and believing in what we’re doing. And this will become more clear when I’m able to record and release that podcast. But it does, um, help to know that at all times people have had to deal with difficulties and we are defined not by our successes, but how we deal with the difficulties and the fortitude we’re able to find within ourselves when things aren’t going well.

    And I would say even more so, I’ve been thinking day after day of a scene in the Hamilton musical called Valley Forge and there’s a song where Alexander Hamilton is getting so frustrated trying to help the army and the revolution and George Washington and not receiving any aid from the Continental Congress or other merchants and George Washington tries to counsel Hamilton to be calm but the song ends on a very somber note, which I think is very applicable and plays over in my head on these days when I’m signing so many death certificates and the song lyrics say that we’re gonna fly a lot of flags half-mast, and that’s what we, in this country, are doing now. It’s a battle.

    It’s a fight against an invisible, um, enemy. But what I’ve seen of the people dedicated to doing what they have been trained to do and what they’ve dedicated their lives to do. I, I see it that we will pull through to the other side of this. And I know we will learn from this and be more vigilant and more ready the next time, so that so many people do not die.From short and sweet AI. I’m Dr Peper sending you all my best thoughts, be well and stay safe.

    • 5 min
    How to Train Your Emotion AI

    How to Train Your Emotion AI

    How do you train neural networks to understand and simulate human emotions?

    From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper and today I’m discussing how to train your AI.

    We use 10,000 possible combinations of muscle movements in the face to create one facial expression. Add to this more than 400 possible voice inflections, along with thousands of hand and body gestures. All these combinations change continuously throughout a human conversation. Our brains process these complex, sometimes intense emotions, subconsciously, in microseconds, over and over again throughout the day.  

    Emotion and Datasets

    The way AI can help us is to have machines that can effectively communicate with us and understand what we want.  They need to recognize our emotional state, how we’re feeling, through our voice, facial expressions and nonverbal cues.   

    In order to teach computers how to understand emotions, AI researchers use machine learning and neural networks. Machines are very good at analyzing large amounts of data. We’re talking a dataset that has almost 8 million facial expressions. When a machine trains on that many variations, it learns to detect patterns in facial movements and even the nuances between a smirk and a smile. The machines can listen to voice tone and recognize sounds that indicate stress or anger. How does it do this?

    Emotion Metrics

    Using computer vision, the algorithms identify key landmarks on the face such as the tip of the nose, the corners of the mouth or the corners of the eyebrows. Deep learning algorithms then analyze the pixels of the images to classify the expressions. Combinations of these facial expressions are then mapped to emotions. Another program for analyzing speech evaluates not what is said, but how it is said, calculating changes in tone, loudness, tempo and voice quality to understand what’s happening and the emotion and gender of the speaker. These are called emotion metrics. And when tested against human emotions, the key emotion metrics have accuracies above 90%.

    Many companies are working on emotion AI. Amazon has a network for speech based emotion detection. Another company, Affectiva, has a neural network called SoundNet, that can classify anger from audio data in 1.2 seconds, regardless of the speaker’s language. That’s as fast as a human can detect anger from a voice. Another company, Cogito, has a system which analyzes voices, of military veterans with PTSD, to determine if they need help.

    FATE Flaws

    But there are worries about this technology. Many people in the field raise concerns that these types of systems have FATE flaws. FATE flaws in AI stand for fairness, accountability, transparency and ethical flaws. For example, a study with one facial recognition algorithm, showed faces of black people are rated as angrier, than faces of white people, even when the faces of black people were smiling.

    Lisa Barret, a professor of psychology, spent 2 years along with 4 other scientists scrutinizing the evidence, for the accuracy of emotion AI. They concluded that companies using AI cannot reliably fingerprint, emotions through expressions. However, she does think in the future, emotions can be measured more accurately, when more sophisticated metrics are available.

    As she explained: “it’s intuitive that emotions are very complex. Sometimes people cry in anger, sometimes they shout, some people laugh when angry and sometimes, they just sit silently and plan the demise of their enemy”.

    From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper.

    As always you can find further reading, videos and podcasts in the show notes.

    • 4 min
    What is Emotion AI?

    What is Emotion AI?

    Humans are incredibly skilled at identifying the emotions in a conversation. We can “hear” a smile. And we correctly identify emotions in a voice even when we don’t speak the language. In fact more than 50 categories exist within the human emotions of surprise, joy, anger, sadness and fear. And each is conveyed through body language, words or tone. When you recognize these signals and respond appropriately, you have high emotional intelligence or high EQ.

    AI has high IQ but low EQ

    We know emotional intelligence and social skills correlate with a person’s potential for success in life. On the other hand, we live in a high IQ world surrounded with super advanced technology and AI systems developed to help us. But they have absolutely no EQ, no emotional intelligence. We need to build emotionally intelligent machines that truly understand human needs so we can have successful interactions with them. 

    Give machines emotions

    The idea of making emotionally intelligent AI has been around for a long time. In 1997 an MIT Media lab professor, Rosalind Picard, published a book about computers and emotions entitled “Affective Computing”. Affect is a psychology term and refers to feeling, emotion, or mood.

    Picard is credited with starting the field of computer science known as affective computing. It’s also called emotional artificial intelligence or emotion AI. Her book outlined how to give machines the skills of emotional intelligence so they can be genuinely intelligent and interact with us naturally. She believes computers should have the ability to recognize, understand, to even have and express, emotions. And by the way, this sounds very similar to what Ray Kurzweil has predicted in some of his conversations about the future.  

    The need for emotion datasets

    In 2009 Picard and Rana el Kaliouby, a computer scientist from MIT, started an AI company called Affectiva based on emotion recognition technology. Subsequently, the company created a dataset of 7.9 million faces from 87 countries with recorded expressions for just about every human emotion. Above all, Picard and Kaliouby wanted to avoid biases in Affectiva’s algorithms. They therefore used a diversity of faces to pick up the differences in expressions from all ethnic groups, ages, genders and cultural backgrounds. Incidentally, I talked about the bias in large datasets in a previous flash talk on ImageNet.

    Today Affectiva’s algorithms can detect human emotion from facial expressions and vocal cues. But even more, Kaliouby wants to train machines to recognize the subtle nuances in human emotions. Humans use a lot of nonverbal cues. Gestures, body language, voice tone all contribute to how emotions are communicated. For that reason researchers plan to develop emotion AI that is multimodal and can detect emotion the way humans do from multiple channels. Ultimately, Kaliouby wants to fuse digital technology with an ability to understand the humans using it.

    The application of emotion AI

    The power to detect human emotion has implications for every aspect of society. Emotion AI technology can detect mental and physical ailments based on how patients look or sound. In marketing it determines consumer’s reactions to commercials and TV shows. In the automotive world, emotion AI can identify distractions going on inside the car that could affect safety, such as arguments or a driver’s lack of focus. Finally, the biggest role so far has been in customer service. Call centers are already using emotion AI to identify the mood of customers on the phone.  

    • 5 min
    AI Audiobooks

    AI Audiobooks

    DeepZen has released for purchase the first AI narrated audiobook.

    From and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper and today I’m talking about AI audiobooks.

    In a previous flash talk, I discussed how we’re entering a voice first future. With smart assistants leading the way, we will request and consume information by speaking rather than type or read from a screen. We will type less on our laptops and smart phones and communicate more with voice. And as a result, people will consume more audiobooks.

    Text to Speech

    There are about one million books published each year in the US. Despite this only 40,000 books are recorded due to the costs. Audiobooks are time consuming and can cost up to $5000 per book to record. Not surprisingly then, companies have focused on perfecting AI to change text into speech through deep learning based systems. And there’s a whole history of machine learning breakthroughs over the last few years which has led to progressive improvement in the natural language processing algorithms. One of the biggest hurdles is AI generated voices sound flat and without emotion, in an almost comical way. Remember the Youtube Ben Bernanke video of the financial crisis? Well, all that’s changed.


    DeepZen, an London based AI company, released examples of it’s latest AI text to speech technology and they sound really good. The DeepZen team trained their algorithms on thousands of hours of narrator speech. As a result, the algorithm produces human sounding, highly emotive audio recordings using text from a book. Judge for yourself. Here’s a snippet of the audiobook, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, generated by DeepZen’s text to speech technology.

    Isn’t that fantastic? This is an audio recording generated by a machine from the text of a book. Because of this AI technology, it’ll be easy and cost effective to make an audio recording of any book out there. Eventually in all different languages.

    Emotion AI

    DeepZen, and other companies like it, are at work on translating human emotion through machine or deep learning for other things besides recording audiobooks. It’s the field of emotion AI which allows machines to determine a person’s mood by the sound of their voice. And will create more human like interactions between machines and man. We can talk about that in the next Short and Sweet AI. I’m Dr. Peper.





    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

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One to watch

Great pod cast and wonderful way to learn about AI which is everywhere. Thanks DR P!

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Short and Sweet AI

As the title says, short and sweet... a great way to understand and keep up with artificial intelligence!

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