Mark Hurrell.

Replicate

Over the last couple of months I’ve been helping Andreas and Ben with their new project, Replicate.

If you weren’t working in software before widespread, free-to-access version control it’s hard to express how differently things worked then. So much of the extreme programming stuff we take for granted like remote collaboration, iterative design, test driven development, a/b testing, public contribution to open-source, were almost impossible due to how time-consuming and unwieldy it was to explore, analyse and experiment with code over time. Software was chaos, and having only worked in it for a few years before Git took off, I’ll never take version control for granted!

When Andreas and Ben chatted to me about their research, and explained that version control isn’t freely available for machine learning I was surprised – my whole understanding of the industry needed recalibrating for a minute. You can sort of use Git, but making commits for every part of the decision tree is clunky. And there are some super-expensive proprietry enterprise packages available, but there isn’t a standard like Git which everyone can access. And without everybody being able to access the tool, there’s no way for you encourage everyone to adopt modern development practices the tool enables. Instead we end up with these AI black box systems, indistinguishable from magic.

As an aside – I’m not a tech ethics specialist but it’s definitely been part of my responsibilities in previous roles to keep on top of the debates and controversies around machine learning and AI. I’ve read a lot of the books, blog posts and criticisms of these technologies, been to a few meetups and stuff. In all of that, I’ve never heard anyone mention that these technologies don’t have the basic tooling we would expect in order for them to operate in the way we expect modern, transparent software products to behave. Instead it’s all conspiracy theories or demands for speculative features that can’t be built. IMO there’s a broader lesson about the basic technical literacy of the criticism and debates around our industry here that I’m going be unpicking for a while.

Back to the point, Replicate launched into public beta yesterday. It’s a simple, lightweight and open source command line tool that records your machine learning experiments. That makes it easier to poke around in your experiments in order to understand what they actually did. You can run it locally or on cloud services, it’s compatible with pretty much anything, and you can analyse the results in a notebook.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, check it out here.

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2020

Replicate
On appreciating craft even when it is not to your taste
Looop
Experiments in programmatic art direction
Weeknote 30 – 31
Weeknote 26 – 29
Weeknote 23 – 25
Weeknote 19 – 22
Weeknote 17 – 18
Weeknote 15 – 16
Weeknote 13 – 14

2019

Weeknote 11 – 12
Weeknote 9 – 10
Weeknote 8
Weeknote 7
Weeknote 6
Weeknote 5
Weeknote 4
Weeknote 3
Weeknote 2
Weeknote 1
Mr Oizo changed my life
Internet realism
At a pinch

2018

Archiving the 20teens
Vision
Learnings from Cybersysn
Keep building
Fully-automated monopoly capitalism
Hard in the paint
Imagine a world pt3
Imagine a world pt2
Imagine a world
The expectation gap
Graphic times
Entropy in the system
The strategy is consultancy
It just takes one person with the right idea, on the right platform, at the right time
The age of computer
High tech
Housing, health and hardware
Power
Consideration
Eye on design

2017

When Elon Musk calls
Clean lines and good design
Afrofuturism and the heart of content
Improving systems
Old Fitzrovians
Good design is honest
Digital service
LDF2017
#Govdesign at London Design Festival
Content design
Naturalism
Lot2046
Whitney identity
Five things from Aitor Throup
Democratic design
Old stuff
Ways of John Berger
Post process
What you do next
2017

2016

False news
Portfolios
Failure demand
Flow
Genuine
Old and new
Talking about your service
Human
Every day
Catching up
Conceptual art in Britain
The edges of the experiment and black transparency
Snowdon
Kenneth Grange
On choosing your influences
Studio culture

2015

Luxury communism
The past is past
Publishing in an age of pervasive design
Quantified self-awareness
Wars
MUJI jug
CH
Something something loosely coupled
New basics
At last
Information with no theory
Making stuff

2014

Revolutions
Made a screensaver
Stuff that we do
Gender politics and pockets
What’s next
Bigness
Strange attractors
Answers from architecture
Simple, minimal
Riposte
Electronic objects
Focus
The world
From the barrell
Restoring Rothko
Speculation
Designers and words
The designer
Ways of seeing
Triangles
For love or money
Business requirements
Manifestos
Lots of good books
Functional entropy
Managing information

2013

Good websites
Eigg
Imperfect
Unproductive
Useless is more
The public interest
More thoughts from AGI
AGI Open 2013
Pre-internet, internet, post-internet
Should you sleep
Broadcast
Design freedom
The next second
Housing crisis
The mirror of the network
The other Penguin house style
Interface
Respectable
Crowd control
Radical notes
From public space to private
Baby steps
Politics and UI
Ford Ford Ford Ford
User needs
Inter face
Swiss folk modernism
Less is more work
Lafayette Park
Watching the snow melt
Interaction

2012

The dutchess paradox
Participation
State mineral of Arkansas
The Metabolists
Connected
More than aesthetics
The new ideology
Away
Shift
Hola chico
Unquestionably good
Places I've been
Little Printer
Design for the public domain
Meaningful mediator
Perfect chess
Leaving BBC News
Visual language
Burrill, De Botton & Burrows
Functional branding
Perspective
LX3 to DP2
Acceptance

2011

Attention to detail
Comprehensive propensities
The news
Courier like new
The opportunity to buy something better
Function, restraint and subversion
The anti-social web
Materials that barely decay
From templates to algorithmic design
Fluid grids and orientation
Product nurturing
Space 2011
VW Golf
2010
1941
London Transport bus map
Updating the Helvetica font stack
Aspen

2010

When words cease to be physically set in the product
Vignelli, a celebration
Designing design
Eye contact
Dartmoor
It's a nineties revival
Jony on design
It should not be played with
Seduction techniques