tl;dr: building features manually is inefficient and extracting them automatically is possible and, in a sense, better.
I’m not writing a lot here these days, so let me summarize: I left my job recently to start working on my Masters at Universidade of São Paulo (USP). I’m studying an area of Machine Learning called Deep Learning (or Representation Learning, the term I prefer) for my research. This post is an overview of what I’ve read so far about the subject.
(By the way, it is practically impossible to enter a PhD program in Brazil without a MSc.)