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July 5, 2017 AT 1:00 pm

How HBO’s Silicon Valley built “Not Hotdog” with mobile TensorFlow, Keras & React Native

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Tim Anglade on Hackernoon goes deep on how technical the silly app actually was to create:

The HBO show Silicon Valley released a real AI app that identifies hotdogs — and not hotdogs — like the one shown on season 4’s 4th episode (the app is now available on Android as well as iOS!)

To achieve this, we designed a bespoke neural architecture that runs directly on your phone, and trained it with Tensorflow, Keras & Nvidia GPUs.
While the use-case is farcical, the app is an approachable example of both deep learning, and edge computing. All AI work is powered 100% by the user’s device, and images are processed without ever leaving their phone. This provides users with a snappier experience (no round trip to the cloud), offline availability, and better privacy. This also allows us to run the app at a cost of $0, even under the load of a million users, providing significant savings compared to traditional cloud-based AI approaches.

The app was developed in-house by the show, by a single developer, running on a single laptop & attached GPU, using hand-curated data. In that respect, it may provide a sense of what can be achieved today, with a limited amount of time & resources, by non-technical companies, individual developers, and hobbyists alike. In that spirit, this article attempts to give a detailed overview of steps involved to help others build their own apps.

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