Learning Statistics: Randomness is a Strange Beast


Our intuition concerning randomness is, strangely enough, quite limited. While we expect it to behave in certain ways (which it doesn’t) it shows some regularities that have unexpected consequences. In a series of seemingly random posts, I will highlight some of those regularities as well as consequences. If you want to learn something about randomness’ strange behaviour and gain some intuition read on!
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Lying with Statistics: One Beer a Day will Kill you!


About two years ago the renowned medical journal “The Lancet” came out with the rather sensational conclusion that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, so every little hurts! For example, drinking a bottle of beer per day (half a litre) would increase your risk of developing a serious health problem within one year by a whopping 7%! When I read that I had to calm my nerves by having a drink!

Ok, kidding aside: in this post, you will learn how to lie with statistics by deviously mixing up relative and absolute changes in risks, so read on!
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Will AI become conscious any time soon?


We all know the classical Sci-Fi trope of intelligent machines becoming conscious and all the potential ramifications that could follow from there (free will, fighting their human creators, ethical dilemmas and so forth). Now, is this a realistic scenario? As a researcher in the area of AI (see e.g. So, what is AI really?), with a penchant for philosophy, I share my thoughts here with you, so read on!
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Learning R: Build xkcd’s Star Wars Spoiler Generator


Star Wars is somewhat nerdy, R definitely is… what could be more worthwhile than combining both 😉

This Sunday was Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!) and suitable for the occasion we will do a little fun project and implement the following xkcd flowchart, which can give us more than 2 million different Star Wars plots.

Even if you are new to R, the used code should be comprehensible, so read on!
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ZeroR: The Simplest Possible Classifier… or: Why High Accuracy can be Misleading


In one of my most popular posts So, what is AI really? I showed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) basically boils down to autonomously learned rules, i.e. conditional statements or simply, conditionals.

In this post, I create the simplest possible classifier, called ZeroR, to show that even this classifier can achieve surprisingly high values for accuracy (i.e. the ratio of correctly predicted instances)… and why this is not necessarily a good thing, so read on!
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COVID-19: Analyze Mobility Trends with R


The global lockdown has slowed down mobility considerably. This can be seen in the data produced by our ubiquitous mobile phones.

Apple is kind enough to make those anonymized and aggregated data available to the public. If you want to learn how to get a handle on those data and analyze trends with R read on!
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Learning Data Science: Understanding ROC Curves


One widely used graphical plot to assess the quality of a machine learning classifier or the accuracy of a medical test is the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve, or ROC curve. If you want to gain an intuition and see how they can be easily created with base R read on!
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COVID-19 in the US: Back-of-the-Envelope Calculation of Actual Infections and Future Deaths


One of the biggest problems of the COVID-19 pandemic is that there are no reliable numbers of infections. This fact renders many model projections next to useless.

If you want to get to know a simple method how to roughly estimate the real number of infections and expected deaths in the US, read on!
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Contagiousness of COVID-19 Part I: Improvements of Mathematical Fitting (Guest Post)


Learning Machines proudly presents a guest post by Martijn Weterings from the Food and Natural Products research group of the Institute of Life Technologies at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland in Sion.
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Collider Bias, or: Are Hot Babes Dim and Eggheads Ugly?


Correlation and its associated challenges don’t lose their fascination: most people know that correlation doesn’t imply causation, not many people know that the opposite is also true (see: Causation doesn’t imply Correlation either) and some know that correlation can just be random (so-called spurious correlation).

If you want to learn about a paradoxical effect nearly nobody is aware of, where correlation between two uncorrelated random variables is introduced just by sampling, read on!
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