Casually explain what HTM is and what AI research is doing

Hi all in the forums.
Some of my friends are asking me what am I doing at the weekends. Well… I have been messing with HTM algorithms and neural networks. Yet, how can I explain this in a not nerdy way? I need suggestions.


Perhaps an impossible task? :sweat_smile:


Give up on not sounding nerdy - embrace it with stuff like:
I am researching brain circuitry.
I set up computer simulations of key parts of the cortex; so far the results are encouraging.

Not good enough? Add this bit and watch the eyebrows go up:
I am inventing a program called (your name here - sky-net is too obvious). I have been feeding it a training set of advanced hacking techniques. Like any deep learning system it is not clear exactly what the internal model does but it is clearly working; just this week it looks like it got into some sort of military networks. I never thought it would work this well!


Is the goal not to sound like a nerd, or to explain it convincingly to someone who is not a nerd (but hopefully doesn’t mind you being a bit of a nerd)?

Note: quite a few of my friends considering being a nerd as a badge of honor. :-).


Casually explaining the rationale behind biologically constrained ML research is pretty easy.

Casually explaining the components of HTM theory is pretty hard.

I normally do the former, then point them to materials that do the latter (though even HTM school isn’t really casual)

1 Like

Explaining to my co-workers is easy. I usually say “A stripped down version of Spiking Neural Networks that uses less resource but preserves the behavior” and they know that NNs are.

I’m trying to not sound nerdy.
It’s a personal thing. Unfortunately though I enjoy a nerd. Being nerdy is one of the best ways to push general friends away in my country. It sucks, but reality. And being nerdy is one of the best ways to not get into any relationship. :frowning:


In my opinion always say “HTM Theory” not “HTM”.

And never say “AI research” that can now sound like kid stuff. Numenta more specifically uses a “computational neuroscience” based approach to understand how the human mind works.

You’ll maybe still be categorized as a “science nerd”, but at least your area of study will sound more impressive. With luck you too might be honored by making it all the way to “mad scientist” level.


Embrace the nerd! :sweat_smile:

To my non-nerd friends I say I’m working to make the world a better place by changing the way alarms work in intensive care (i.e. the why).

To my medical friends (who may or may not be nerdy) I say I’m using principles found in how we process biological sensors to detect physiological changes in critically ill patients (i.e.the what).

To my nerdy friends I say I’m developing an implementation of a neural network in R to detect anomalies in real-time physiological data streams (i.e.the how).

Always be prepared to modify your delivery to suit your audience :blush: