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Keep an Eye Out for the Next Big Thing: Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are buzzwords that are increasingly being used to discuss upcoming trends in Data Science and other technologies. However, are these two concepts really peas in the same pod?

Artificial Intelligence is a broader concept of smart machines carrying out various tasks on their own. While Machine Learning is an application of Artificial Intelligence where machines learn from data provided to them using various types of algorithms. Therefore, Machine Learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building, allowing computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed to do so. Sounds like the pitch-perfect solution to all our technological woes, doesn’t it?

Evolution of Machine Learning

Arthur Samuel, an American pioneer in the field of computer gaming and artificial intelligence, coined the term ‘Machine Learning’ in 1959 while at IBM. During its early days, Machine Learning was born from pattern recognition with the theory that computers can learn from patterns in data without being programmed to perform specific tasks. Researchers interested in Artificial Intelligence later developed algorithms with which computers or machines could learn from data. As a result of this, whenever the machines were exposed to new data, they were able to independently adapt as well.

It’s a science that’s not new, but one that’s gaining fresh momentum, thanks mainly to new computing technologies that have evolved over the last few decades.

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Many Machine Learning algorithms have been around for a long time. But, the ability to automatically apply complex mathematical calculations to large data sets is a fresh development being witnessed. Here are a few examples of Machine Learning applications you might be familiar with:

  • Online recommendations from Amazon and Netflix.
  • YouTube detecting and removing terror content on the platform.
  • Knowing what customers are saying about you on Twitter

Machine learning the next big thing | UpGrad Blog

The Rise of Machine Learning

The emergence of the internet, as well as the massive increase in digital information being generated, stored, and made available for analysis, are seen to be the two important factors that have led to the emergence of Machine Learning. With the magnitude of quality data from the internet, economical data storage options and improved data processing capabilities, Machine Learning algorithms are seen as a vehicle propelling the development of Artificial Intelligence at a scorching pace in recent times.

Neural Networks

A neural network works on a system of probability by being able to make statements, decisions, or predictions based on data fed to it. Moreover, a feedback loop enables further “learning” by sensing; it also modifies the learning process based on whether its decisions are right or wrong. 

An artificial neural network is a computer system with node networks inspired from the neurons in the animal brain. Such networks can be taught to recognise and classify patterns through witnessing examples rather than telling the algorithm how exactly to recognise and classify patterns. Machine Learning derived applications of neural networks can read pieces of text and recognise the nature of the text – whether it is a complaint or congratulatory note. They can also listen to a piece of music, decide whether it is likely to make someone happy or sad, and find other pieces of similar music. What’s more, they can even compose music expressing the same mood or theme.

In the near future, with the help of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, it should be possible for a person to communicate and interact with electronic devices and digital information thanks to another emerging field of AI called Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP has become a source of cutting-edge innovation in the past few years, and one which is heavily reliant on Machine Learning.

Neural Networks - Machine learning the next big thing | UpGrad Blog

NLP applications attempt to understand human communication, both written as well as spoken, and communicate using various languages. In this context, Machine Learning helps machines understand the nuances in human language and respond in a way that a particular audience is likely to comprehend.

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So, who is actually using it?

Most industries working with large amounts of data have recognised the value of Machine Learning. Large companies glean vital real-time actionable insights from stored data and are hence able to increase efficiency or gain an advantage over their competitors.

Financial services

Banks and other businesses use Machine Learning to identify important insights in data generated and thereby prevent frauds. These insights can identify investment opportunities or help investors know when to trade. Data mining can also identify clients with high-risk profiles or use cyber surveillance to warn customers about fraud and thereby minimise identity theft.

Marketing and sales

E-commerce websites use Machine Learning technology to analyse buying history based on previous purchases, to recommend items that you may like and promote other items. The retail industry is enlisting the ability of websites to capture data, analyse it, and use it to personalise a shopping experience or implement marketing campaigns.

Summing up, Artificial Intelligence and, in particular, Machine Learning, certainly has a lot to offer today. With its promise of automating mundane tasks as well as offering creative insights, industries in every sector from banking to healthcare and manufacturing are reaping the benefits.

Eventually, scientists hope to develop human-like Artificial Intelligence that is capable of increasing the speed of various automated functions, especially with the advent of chatbots in the internet realm. Much of the exciting progress that we have seen in recent years is due to progressive changes in Artificial Intelligence, which have been brought about by Machine Learning. This is clearly why Machine Learning is poised to become the next big thing in the data sciences sphere.

So go ahead, UpGrad yourself to stay ahead of the curve.

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