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If we're not researchers, when is it still even neccessary to develop new architectures? Seems like these days most DL applications in Computer Vision just use pretrained models with transfer learning.

If you're not a researcher, why are you doing it? If you have any other motivation besides discovery, expect that to get automated away in short order and whatever you do to rapidly become obsolete. Curiosity is your best asset.

Many image problems can still be solved by machine learning solutions - if I don't need to spend time re-inventing the wheel, why do so?

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