Welcome to my blog!

So what's it about?

I was a fashion photographer for 15 years, based in London. But from May 2024, after fulfilling a lifetime ambition and travelling for over a year, I was ready for a complete change. I quit my photography business and moved to Nottingham, a city I love, in order to study AI and machine learning full-time, as well as other technical skills.

I have been obsessed with AI ever since DALL-E and Midjourney allowed me to create my dream photoshoot images that would be impossible or too expensive to take in real life. Generative AI is my passion now. Its possibilities have already transcended those of real-life photography, and it's improving at an incredible rate.

My new life involves studying full-time, six and a half days a week. I am following a study plan generated by Anthropic's Claude, and am ambitiously trying to do it in half the time. There is a formidable list of skills I want to learn, including a lot of advanced mathematics. But it's wonderful; I absolutely love the process of taking courses, 'upskilling', and immersing myself in this thrilling new world of machine learning with its rapidly evolving landscape.

I have committed myself to this programme of intensive study for precisely a year, to see what I can achieve in that time in terms of new skills and projects. The purpose of this blog is to chart my progress, hold myself accountable, and also present a few interesting things from my past for anyone interested.

My background

This feels like a leap into the unknown and huge departure from what I used to do, but I should mention that I'm not actually starting from scratch when it comes to AI. My degree was in Philosophy in Cognitive and Computing Sciences, which contained some early AI elements, as well as related fields: Linguistics, Psychology and of course Computer Science.

My Master's degree was in Manufacturing and Management Information Systems, which also contained AI modules. As part of the coursework, I wrote a program that plays chess in the Kappa language. My MSc included a placement; I did mine in a software house working on machine vision. This was the basis of my thesis, for which I received a Distinction.

After graduating, I worked at the same software house, Integral Vision, on machine vision projects for two years. After that I worked at Crystal Decisions, the makers of Crystal Reports. Finally I worked at Kudos on digital billboard scheduling software, before switching to become a full-time photographer.

That sounds like a fair bit of experience in AI, but it was a long time ago. Most of what I'll be learning during this year of non-stop study didn't even exist when I was at university or working as a software developer. It's exciting to sail into so much that is new to me.


Human learning

There won't be much in the way of machine learning in this 'machine learning' blog for some months as I am focusing on building foundational skills first - and there are a lot of them! But watch this space; as well as posting about what I'm learning and related projects I'm working on, I'll be sharing my thoughts on AI and any interesting new discoveries I find.

Thanks for reading. If you work in machine learning or have an interest in it, please get in touch; I'd love to hear about your experiences with it. Especially if you're a sentient robot reading this in the future.