What is so exciting about Machine Learning?

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Digiryte April 12, 2019 15:00 3 min read 167 views so far!

What is Machine Learning?

Coined in 1959 by Arthur Samuel, while working at IBM, machine learning is the study of systems and algorithms that computers use to perform tasks without the help of specific instruction.

Machine learning algorithms are used in a wide range of applications, like email filtering, and product recommendations. It is built to work without specific, set out parameters. Otherwise, it wouldn’t “learn” as it went on and evolved. Machine learning is a sort of subset of artificial intelligence.

What is Machine Learning used for?

Machine learning has lots of practical applications that most people aren’t aware of. Sort of how AI is starting to encroach on everything we do, machine learning is already well on its way. Some instances of machine learning or ML are:

  • Categorizing images, satellite imagery, or MRI studies.

  • To flag potentially fraudulent purchases or transactions.

  • Translate languages into text or audio.

  • Personalising product recommendations based on customer behaviours.

Machine learning is shaping the way we see the world, it would be difficult to imagine a world which machine learning hasn't had an impact, and is continuing to every day. Wherever there is computer software that performs a labour intensive task, chances are, machine learning is involved somewhere in the process.

How do AI and machine learning work together?

As mentioned before, machine learning is a subset to AI, in so much as AI is used to train machine learning algorithms to be able to perform tasks that humans either can’t or that it would take someone a very long time to do. Machine learning is able to use data that it produces, to improve the function as it goes.

It might be easier to say that AI is the science of making machines that are capable of intelligent behaviour. Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being specifically programmed.

Machine learning, AI and Deep learning are all linked to one another. It is difficult to talk about one area too much without mentioning the other aspects of this branch of computer science. Here is an infographic from Nvidia on how they work together.

Put in a very basic way, you need AI to be able to put in place ML, and you need ML to be able to install Deep Learning (DL).

What is so exciting about Machine Learning?

The applications of machine learning are far-reaching and are part of everyday life for millions of people across the globe. Anything that cannot be done by humans, is being done more and more by computers and machine learning. What is even more interesting, is that the applications that are using machine learning, are evolving and growing in knowledge more each day.

It is easy to get bogged down in the specifics of exactly how machine learning, neural networks, deep learning and the complex code works. But in reality, something that uses machine learning will probably never come into contact with the general public. Applications such as Google Maps use machine learning all the time to be able to predict and amend routes that you use to get somewhere.

Security surveillance in your city is monitored by ML, so police can focus on more important work, rather than being stuck in front of thousands of CCTV streams.

Even online customer support is run by programmes that use machine learning. Customers have what seems to be a human interaction, but is, in fact, a computer, that is able to service a customers query faster than a person could.

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