Do It Yourself Artificial Intelligence

Alasdair Allan
19 min readMay 12, 2018

This is a transcript of the talk I gave at Crowd Supply’s Teardown Conference.

Growing up, the free toys on the covers of magazines were made of plastic. They were cheap, and cheerful. Yet the last thirty years has reduced the price of computing to the point where cheap and cheerful plastic toys have been replaced by other things.

Around this time last year Google and Raspberry Pi did something rather intriguing. Together they packaged machine learning — the ability for your Raspberry Pi to think and reason — as a kit, and made it available free on the cover of a magazine.

The AIY Projects Voice Kit, free on the cover of Issue 57 of the MagPi

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the print run of the magazine sold out in hours. To be fair, it wasn’t exactly on the cover. They had to put it, and the magazine, into a box. But I guess it’s thought that counts..?

Based around the a Raspberry Pi HAT the kit enabled you to add voice interaction to your Raspberry Pi. Later in the year, Google made the same kit available through retail channels.

Google called it AIY Projects, that would be AIY for “artificial intelligence it yourself,” and the kit came with almost all the bits and pieces you’d need to build a Google Home style Voice Assistant using a Raspberry Pi. There was even a cardboard case for the project build which, after Google Cardboard, has become almost…