AI Podcast: Hold the Mayo – ‘Not Hotdog’ Brings App from HBO’s Silicon Valley to Life

by Allison Toh

Move over, Pied Piper, there’s hotter tech in town.

If you didn’t get that reference from HBO’s Silicon Valley, tune in, because we’ve got the inside story on the latest gag on the show that everyone is buzzing about this year.

And it comes with a side of mustard.

On this week’s episode of the AI Podcast, developer Tim Anglade shares his experience developing “Not Hotdog,” an app that spawned as a joke on HBO’s Silicon Valley TV show, but is now available on iOS and Android stores.

Anglade, who also works as a consultant for the series, used NVIDIA GPUs, TensorFlow and Keras to train the app. Users can now determine if any food or object they photograph is or isn’t a hot dog.

“It’s a defining problem of our time,” quipped Anglade.

In the show, “Not Hotdog” was developed when character Jian-Yang tries to create a food recognition AI app, only to have it backfire when it can only identify hot dogs.

To develop the app, Anglade relied on existing research and libraries covering image recognition.

“The concept of the app really is to use something that’s really, really smart to do something that’s really, really dumb,” said Anglade in a conversation with AI Podcast host Michael Copeland.

As a consultant, Anglade works to ensure that all aspects of the show — the engineering, the science and the overall Silicon Valley culture — are accurately portrayed. Prior to consulting, Anglade was a “developer by trade.”

According to Anglade, he sometimes became uncomfortable while working on Silicon Valley due to how realistic the show depictions are.

“I think most of what ends up being on the show is actually very close to reality,” said Anglade. “Too close for comfort.”

 Just Keep on Trucking

And if you missed last week’s episode, TuSimple CTO Xiaodi Hou explains how a driver shortage in Beijing inspired him to develop a driverless trucking platform.

How to Tune in to the AI Podcast

The AI Podcast is available through iTunes, DoggCatcher, Google Play MusicOvercastPlayerFMPodbay, Pocket Casts, PodCruncher, PodKicker, Stitcher and Soundcloud. If your favorite isn’t listed here, email us at aipodcast [at] nvidia [dot] com.

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Featured image credit: C Watts, via Flickr