Noticed something in class today.
We had an extra little lesson today about classification of images, how you can separate an apple from a banana using certain features you calculates off the image, like color or roundness. Quickly enough, computer learning using neural networks presented itself as a way of working with the endless amount of possible features we can extract from an image, much like we humans do with our brains. We watched this TED Talk on a huge image classification project, to show how stupidly far we’ve already come, and how much further we still have to go. Watch it, if you have twenty minutes to spare.
Our class, being the 100% young white male audience it is, immediately fell over the speaker in the video. Something about her being Chinese, her pronunciation being a bit off, her being a woman. I’m not going to play a bunch of political correctness cards here, but this definitely shows that IT is still a rather exclusive field, simply by behavior of its members. But I digress.
As a few jokes were thrown around the classroom, it got me thinking. “But all that’s not really important, is it?” Does it matter how content is presented, as long as the content itself is of good quality? No doubt it does. If you find a website that looks like it’s from the year 1990, you’re very likely to browse back to the safety of the modern web without giving the content so much as a glance.
When the website gets the bigger things right though (half-decent design, no annoying ads), the rest starts to matter much less. You don’t care if the font is exactly the right size, or whatever it’s serif or sans-serif. As long as it’s readable, it’s good to go. The surrounding presentation is no longer so bad it distracts.
The same goes for the example talk I started with. Her contents is good, and her presentation is pretty well-executed too. It’s an interesting talk not only because of the subject matter, but also because her story flows fairly well. At that point, I couldn’t care less if she has a bit of a lisp or not, as long as it doesn’t limit my ability to understand what’s being said. So in the end, I guess it was just the people in my class being a bit crude?
Man, I have to write something about that someday. But I also don’t want to be that guy about it. Then again, maybe that’s part of the problem.