Deep learning, the Oculus Rift and more


Credit: Google

Recent articles for Forbes

Deep learning is a type of AI that makes use of multi-layered artificial neural networks to do amazing things. I was a graduate student when neural networks first hit the world of cognitive science in the 1980s. We were blown away. Everything stopped while we delved into these new computational architectures and figured out how they worked. We thought they were going to do extraordinary things but it didn’t quite work out that way. Now, 30 years later, many of the problems that brought those early neural networks to their knees have been solved and the extraordinary things we dreamed of are starting to happen.

What Is Deep Learning And How Is It Useful?” explains how deep learning networks work and why they are so useful. The piece also includes short descriptions of five companies that are doing interesting things with deep learning networks. Those five are cool, but there are a lot more companies making innovative use of deep learning. “Thirteen Companies That Use Deep Learning To Produce Actionable Results” presents a few of them.

If you find deep learning interesting, stay tuned. I’m in conversations with the co-founder and Chief Science Officer of a company applying state-of-the-art deep learning networks to applications in emotional AI, and with a research scientist in Grenoble who is doing very interesting things in the area of training deep learning networks. If all goes well, more articles for Forbes about deep learning will be coming.


Credit: Oculus Rift/YouTube

The Oculus Rift launched in late March and I wrote “Keeping Your Balance With An Oculus Rift” to provide some information that can keep people from falling and possibly getting hurt while using VR. The piece was adapted and updated from an article that appeared on Ars Technica. The Ars Technica piece grew out of an Info Monkey article about whether Daredevil has balance problems when he’s had too much to drink because he’s blind. The whole thing started when Daredevil’s friend Foggy asked him the  blind+drink+balance question during one of the episodes of the TV show and I wondered about the answer. Start asking questions and you never know where it’s going to end up.

Pigeon flies

Credit: DigitasLBi/YouTube

Finally, there a piece about a promotional campaign for Plume Labs, a company that gathers air pollution data and provides info via the internet and smartphone apps about daily pollution levels in cities all over the world. They built a small device that monitors pollution in the immediate environment. To draw attention to a Crowdfunder project to test the device, they outfitted a flock of trained racing pigeons with tiny backpacks containing the device and set them loose to gather local pollution data in London. If that sounds interesting, take a look at “Backpack-Wearing Pigeons Tweet About Air Pollution” to find out more.

That’s some of what’s new on Forbes. As always, you can find an up-to-date listing of my articles on my Forbes page.


About Kevin Murnane

I am a cognitive scientist, a freelance writer and author (Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before, During and After the Ride), a musician (Parametric Monkey - stream on Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube), a bookstore owner (Monkey Books - first edition mystery, science fiction, fantasy and more, listed on ABE books, Amazon and Biblio), and a retired house painter, children's theater actor & owner, and university professor. I'm also a regular contributor to the technology section at Forbes and I write a cycling blog called Tuned In To Cycling. You can follow me on twitter @TheInfoMonkey and contact me at
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