Artificial Intelligence Meetups Tampa Bay

Would you be interested in a hands-on A.I. coding meetup?

Each era had its tech opportunity, and I have a meetup idea to capitalize on the opportunity we have right now.

ChatGPT has been around for a little less than a quarter (remember, it came out at the end of November), and in that time, a lot of people are already adapting to the change. Even the stand-up comic puppet “Chad the Bird” has already created an epic routine about it:

One way to look at the opportunity it presents is through the lens of paradigm shifts over the past couple of decades:

It may be 2023, but it’s also 1981, 1994, the early 2000s, 2008, and the 2010s all over again. What would you need to know to get ahead in this new age of AI?

Here’s a better question: What if there was a meetup where you could get hands-on practice on building AI?

Backpropgation (a key feature of neural networks) diagram from one of my notebooks.
We could cover this at my proposed meetup!
Tap to view at full size.

There’s no way you could build ChatGPT in a couple of hours at a meetup. But what if you worked up to it, a little at a time?

This meetup would start at the very beginning — and by “beginning,” I mean the original chatbot from the 1960s, ELIZA

Unlike ChatGPT, it is possible to build ELIZA in a couple of hours. It’s also a great way to sharpen your skills in Python (which is very popular in AI circles) at the same time!

You can try out ELIZA online!

Eliza was created by computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab over a two-year period from 1964 to 1966:

It simulated a psychotherapist that reflects what the patient says back at them or gets the patient to talk about what they just said. Although it was written for the IBM 7094, a room-sized computer whose operator console is pictured below…

IBM 7094 operator console. Photo by Arnold Reinhold.
Tap to view at full size.

…it later became a popular program on home computers in the 1980s under the name “Eliza” or “Doctor”:

We’d start by building Eliza — in Python. I’d give you a “starter” project, and you’d code along with me until you had a working Eliza version that you could tweak into your own chatbot.

You wouldn’t need the latest and greatest computer to do it, either! A laptop from 2010 (and remember, that’s 13 years ago now!) or later would be all you’d need.

We’d then play around a little with old-school AI and work our way towards the APIs, algorithms and data structures that make up what we consider to be AI today. The goal is to eventually gain the skills necessary to write AI applications or use AI-powered APIs to give our applications human-like smarts.

Would you go to this kind of meetup? Let me know!

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