How Does Machine Learning Work
Much of the technology we use every day is based on machine learning, but how does it work exactly? And how can you use this exciting new science to streamline your business and improve your efficiency?
Machine learning is based on algorithms and data, and the way a computer uses them to solve a problem. One of the earliest examples of what we today call machine learning takes us back to 1962, when an IBM computer was taught chess.
With so many games that you can play online today, it doesn’t seem impressive at all, but at the time it was monumental. After all, teaching a machine to play a game involves giving it a set of algorithms to understand the rules and predict the next move.
The amazing part is that the computer managed to win against chess master Robert Nealey.
How Does Machine Learning Work
If a machine depended on humans for everything it did, it wouldn’t be of much help. Machine learning is all about giving a computer the kind of algorithms it can use to improve its thinking process. A learning algorithm contains three main parts.
1. Decision Process
It all starts with the input data a machine receives. This data can be labeled or unlabeled. The machine processes the data or runs it through the algorithm to find patterns and make classifications or predictions.
2. Error Function
This is the part where the machine checks the predictions it just made. If there are similar examples already input in the machine, the computer can use those to determine the accuracy of its prediction.
3. Optimization Process
This is probably the most important part of machine learning. The machine checks against the given example or training set, looking for ways to make the data fit better into the model predictions. It can adjust the algorithm it uses until its own predictive model fits in with the training set.
Machine Learning Methods
Every parent has their own method of educating their child. Some prefer to teach a child everything, while others let the little ones to explore and discover things on their own. Machine learning is a combination of both methods.
Supervised Machine Learning
This refers to the part where the machine uses algorithms to find a model in the data that are fed into it. Going through repeated optimization cycles, the machine learns how to fit the data within the training set.
A cross-validation process is necessary at this stage to make sure the model devised by the computer does not underfit or overfit the given model.
Think of the Spam folder you have in your email account. The system uses an algorithm to predict which messages should go into spam and, although it’s not perfect, it does a pretty good job.
Unsupervised Machine Learning
This is about the machine doing things on its own, like analyzing a set of unlabeled data. It’s still based on existing algorithms, but the machine uses them to discover hidden patterns in the data or different ways to group the information it receives.
And it does this without human intervention. This type of learning is used for exploratory data analysis, pattern recognition, or for devising cross-selling strategies.
Humans and machines work together at this point. It’s a training part, during which a machine is guided through more challenging tasks, such as extracting and classifying data from a large volume of unlabeled data.
How Does Machine Learning Work – Real World
The whole point of machine learning is getting machines to help us in real life. Here are a few examples of machine learning at work.
Many online businesses now use chatbots to communicate with customers. When a dialogue box appears in the lower right corner of the screen, often behind the avatar is not a real person, but a chatbot that can answer basic questions.
When a customer visits your site, the recommendation engine keeps track of what they look at and predicts what else they might be interested in. It then offers helpful suggestions that often result in more items sold.
AI Stock Trading
Machines take on Wall Street, and they can beat humans because they have a far better capacity to analyze transactions. AI-driven platforms can make thousands of transactions, buying and selling stocks, while the broker is out having a coffee.
Additional Resources – How Does Machine Learning Work
There are, of course, many other ways machines can help your business grow, not to mention the new uses that are just around the corner. Here are some resources on cloud based artificial intelligence and how does machine learning works
- Azure AI – Make artificial intelligence (AI) real for your business today
- AWS AI services – Easily add intelligence to applications
- Google AI & Machine Learning – AI and machine learning products.
- IBM AI Solutions – Deploy your AI applications on the cloud environment that best supports your business needs.