In a future of increased automation, with petabytes of data to be translated into meaningful information, the roles of human and machine will become more distinct in the workplace. A new role for humans is unveiling itself: improving machine learning systems.
With the assistance of humans, machine learning is likely to spell the end of computer programming as we know it. Today computer programmes are used to automate actions, but to change programme behaviour, you need a software engineer. With machine learning, the programme behaviour improves by itself when told by a human what’s right and what’s wrong.
Machines That Can Listen and Learn with Guillaume Bouchard
Learning through the data surge
From the days of Turing, scientists have explored the notion that computers should be able to improve themselves over time. This was the birth of machine learning, which introduced us to the idea of artificial intelligence. Its popularity has since fluctuated but over the last few years we’ve seen the field once again become the scientific topic du jour.
The study of neural networks, from being an almost forgotten art, is now being revisited by the likes of Andrew Ng at Google, who recently developed large scale artificial neural networks using Google's distributed computer infrastructure. These networks were ‘trained’ to recognise higher level concepts such as cats, simply through ‘watching’ YouTube videos. In addition, the study of ‘deep learning’ algorithms, such as those that helped Facebook do tasks such as automatically tagging uploaded pictures for example, is back underway in some of the world’s leading laboratories.
One advance fuelling this surge is the growth of big data. As the reams of mostly disorganised information businesses deal with increases exponentially, humans recognise the potential for feeding this to machines that can then make sense of and act upon this data at speeds we can only dream of.
This will help businesses stay ahead of changing times and customer needs. The potential to increase efficiency and improve customer experience is overwhelming, and suggests the rise of machine learning is only just beginning.