December 6th, 2017 by adminIn the stone ages, if we wanted to compare our pile of rocks to our pile of sticks, (to ensure sure we had the proper ratio to make cave man things) we had to do it all by hand. Then computers and logic processors came along and they’ve been great for really specific tasks, like counting rocks and sticks. They have struggled in general areas like dissecting data with many loose variables to draw very specific conclusions (recognizing faces and patterns) or specific predictions (stock markets and marketing). Computers have had very little to offer in these areas - until now. In the 21st century, programmers and computer scientists have made major breakthroughs in developing computers capable of machine learning, a function of artificial intelligence (AI) that lets computers assist people in tasks they could never have thought possible.
What is it?
Machine Learning is a field of computer science that attempts to create algorithms to allow computers to learn new behaviors and ways of interpreting data that aren’t explicitly programmed. If you wanted a normal computer to be able to recognize human faces and tell them apart, you would have to specifically program millions of faces and patterns and it would still be far from perfect. With powerful machine learning, you can program an algorithm that learns multiple variables and patterns to draw very specific conclusions, much like an animal brain. It’s worth noting that AI is sometimes trying to replicate human logic processing, but not emotions or consciousness. These are complicated computer programs that can learn, but that does not imply personality or preference.
What is it good for?
In all likelihood you have interacted with and used this type of AI today. If you have run any google searches, browsed through Amazon, or scrolled through your Facebook news-feed, you’ve looked at content that was presented to you by a machine learning algorithm. By collecting data on every button you click, search you run, product you view, and article you read, these sites are able to get a picture of what you are interested in and how you respond to it. The benefit for the consumer is that they get specialized content tailored to their personal interests and searches yield better results. Businesses benefit because they can directly reach their best possible demographic, and market more effectively. Businesses also have access to a large amount of consumer data that helps them make better decisions.
These are just a few of the advantages of one type of machine learning, but there is a lot more to it. There are books on machine learning, its history, direction, current applications, projected applications and so on. Hopefully this was an informative crash course or quick refresher on the basics of machine learning. Be sure to take a look at our related articles, and message us with any questions or comments.
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