|St. George's School Harpenden|
Doing a-levels I enjoyed maths and couldn't stand English lessons so I started doing further maths as well which clashed with English. I did half further maths and half English, but I'd missed eigen vectors at the start of the course.
It turns out that without eigen vectors you can't really understand any of further maths. I enjoyed sitting in the lessons, and was happy to miss English, but I got an E in further maths.
The teacher was called Mr Foley and I suspect he was an alcoholic. We were a smart bunch doing further maths, but I remember lesson after lesson he would teach us something which would seem to make sense and then ask us to solve a problem based on what he'd just taught us. We'd all sit there blank faced, absent a clue. He completely failed to teach us.
And then he'd go to the pub.
However, last year I had a job working for a dodgy firm in Burton-on-Trent. They were spammers essentially.
They wanted me to help them build a computer system, to better spam people I think, and they wanted to use AI in it.
So they paid me to do three days one to one training with possibly the best AI trainer in the country. Marco Bonzanini has six degrees in computational linguistics and AI and he taught me Natural Language Processing using AI algorithms in Python. At one point he described the Bayes algorithm in words, in terms of probability of documents containing a word, and it made complete sense. Our eyes were both blazing with the sheer joy of it; "holy shit" I said, "did I just understand the Bayes algorithm?". "Yup" replied Marco.
And then I went and taught their programmers how to do it.
All their data was shit, gathered by Eastern Europeans paid minimum wage. I'm pretty sure everything I gave them helped not one jot and I hope they've gone bankrupt.
As well as learning the secrets of language (words are defined by usage and meaning is abstract) it turns out that AI is just maths. Calculating cosine similarity of high dimensional eigen vectors and the like.
So I finally understood vectors, and matrix transformations are just the next step (and used in AI to transform vector spaces, typically to reduce the number of dimensions etc).
I got maths, English and physics A-levels. All As. And an E in further maths.
My lifelong ambition at that point was to get into Cambridge university. I achieved that goal but discovered drugs and the occult and set about on a lifelong quest to understand the deeper secrets of life.
A quest that unfortunately required me to go mad and drop out. Still, my dream had been to get to Cambridge and I'd achieved that much.
"Machiavelli said of rulers that the best are both feared and loved but if that isn't possible then just feared will suffice."