What is Elle Knows Machines?

Elle Knows Machines is a digital resource and reference for non-technical people looking to learn about machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science. The goal of this site is to equip future leaders with the technical skills necessary to thrive in the future economy by making artificial intelligence accessible and fun.

Who are you?

Hey 👋 Elle Knows Machines is written by me, Gabrielle. I’m a professional researcher working at the intersection of technology and humans (Human Computer Interaction) and studying the impact of technology on international relations (Computational International Relations). Despite coming from a distinctly non-technical background I now use cutting-edge AI algorithms in my work and play. Elle Knows Machines is the resource that I wish I had when I first became interested in the field of AI. Everything that came afterwards – from scholarships to buy high-end computers, to receiving funding to study state-sponsored trolling, to awards won for most innovative projects utilising neural nets – is hopefully folded into Elle Knows Machines so other non-technical people can also learn to speak this language fluently.

What do I need to work through the projects and tutorials on Elle Knows Machines?

You need a computer and an internet connection. Technically, an internet connection isn’t strictly necessary because there are easy ways to read websites offline but if you hit any technical snags you’ll need to search for solutions. Also, a mouse helps when working with large amounts of data (data related wrist strain is no joking matter, my friends).

I’ve never read a line of code before in my life. Can I really do machine learning?

Yes. Yes, you can. The most important thing is to learn to think computationally – that is, as computers think. This is much easier than learning to actually write code. Unless you want to become an actual software or website developer the most important skill you can learn is how to formulate what you want to accomplish into a search term and then to read through the forums (e.g. stackoverflow, github etc.) for something that looks like it might work. This is a nice article which introduces computational thinking.

I want to work together. How do I contact you?

Send an email to collab@elleknowsmachines.com. I only check and address the most pressing emails a few times a month so it’s nothing personal if I dont respond and/or take an extremely long time.

Will you review my book/project/product?

If your book/project/product is genuinely useful for Elle Knows Machines readers I’m happy to consider it. Please note that I’m based in the EU which means that any physical product, such as books, will need to be shipped accordingly.

My code isn’t working. Can you help me?

Try searching the exact problem that you’re having using any specific error messages you’ve received. I haven’t come across a problem yet that I haven’t been able to solve through a combination of trial-and-error and forum crawling.

I found a) an error with some code in one of the tutorials or b) a typo that renders the text nonsensicle. What do I do?

Although I aim for accuracy in all things, sometimes mistakes happen. If you notice an error let me know at hello@elleknowsmachines.com and I’ll see if I can fix it. We’re all learning here 🤗

Why doesn’t Elle Knows Machines maintain a social media presence?

I object to the outsized (and often unconsidered) effect that a handful of tech companies are having on society and would rather my writing not be used for their profit. I plan to write more about this within the context of data exhaust and privacy soon, but in the meantime read the article You Are the Product by John Lanchester.

Sometimes you use American spelling and sometimes British. Is this a mistake?

No. My use of the English language reflects the fact that I live a transatlantic life. For the sake of simplicity I generally stick to American English but actively avoid the Oxford comma and find that z’s harsh my vibe.