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Saturday, July 08, 2017

Machine learning is already a part of your life, you just don’t know it yet | Android Authority

Photo: Adam Sinicki
"Machine learning might sound like something from a far-off future but actually it's already a part of our everyday" summarizes Adam Sinicki, Author at Android Authority.  

Photo: Shutterstock

If you were born in the 80s or 90s, then there’s a good chance the words ‘machine learning’ conjure images of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator. It sounds like a far future concept that may be synonymous with AI and ‘the rise of the machines’.

But as it happens, the rise has actually already begun. Machine learning is no science fiction concept but rather a concrete tool that you likely encounter on a daily basis already – even on the Android device that’s currently sitting in your pocket. Learning. Waiting.

In this post, I’ll attempt to demystify machine learning a little and demonstrate a few ways in which it is already a big part of your life. And far from wanting to ‘take over’, you’ll hopefully see that it’s actually just here to help. For now, anyway.

What is machine learning? 
For the best summary of machine learning, you should definitely check out Gary’s article ‘What is machine learning and the accompanying video. To cut a long story short though, machine learning is not the same thing as AI, although the two subjects are closely related. In fact, machine learning also shares a lot in common with data mining and statistical analysis.

Machine learning is concerned with helping a program to get better at a specific task, often through the collection and subsequent analysis of large data sets that allow patterns to emerge.

For example: say you were you to speak with an AI on WhatsApp, many aspects of its behavior would be pre-programmed examples of artificial intelligence. But if it could also asses the language that you were using and your responses and then use that information to come up with more realistic and human-like vocabulary, then that would be an example of machine learning. This might work using a database of common phrases, responses and interactions, for example, that could be added to and iterated over time.

That’s just a hypothetical, but there are plenty of much more remarkable examples of this that you already encounter every day.

Adam Sinicki  writes in the conclusion:
"There is an exciting future for the possibilities of machine learning in research and medicine. Learning computers might represent the first rung on the ladder on our ascent toward the singularity as they transform the way we do business and make breakthroughs that no human could ever have dreamed of."

But machine learning also has a huge amount of potential for our daily lives; in entertainment, retail and communication. The effects of that are already being felt across many of our everyday tasks in fact, and perhaps that is the most exciting part of all.

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Source: Android Authority (blog)


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