You’ve likely heard about artificial intelligence for decades, but now machine learning is a phrase you’re hearing more often too. When it comes to machine learning vs AI, both are important terms describing the future of technology. However, both are different.
Understanding Machine Learning
Machine learning actually stemmed from artificial intelligence. This is why you sometimes hear the two phrases used interchangeably. You might be surprised to know that machine learning has been around for years, but the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has helped this form of AI gain new momentum.
The object with machine learning is help computers or machines learn without human assistance. After being initially programmed, the machine uses complex algorithms to process data and learn. The knowledge gained is then used to help the machine adapt. Much like a person processes information, learns, and then applies it, machine learning works the same, but with machines.
One of the main benefits is machines are able to process larger amounts of data and learn from the data. However, learning takes time. In order for machines to adapt, it may take more time than if the machine was programmed to do the task from the start. On the other hand, machine learning allows a machine to continue to evolve and adapt, which leads to interesting possibilities.
Artificial intelligence like you see in science fiction movies isn’t quite here yet, but it’s closer than you might think. You already know that it’s not machine learning vs AI. Instead, machine learning is just a part of AI. By definition, AI is a type of machine or program designed that seem almost human.
From recognizing a voice to solving problems, AI applications are seemingly endless. Instead of just programming a machine to perform a task, machines must be programmed with specific human-like traits, such as:
- Problem solving
Naturally, AI devices are also used to physically interact with humans too. For instance, robots that will bring you the remote from across the room is a form of AI. The vast amount of data necessary to enable devices to function even partially like a human is mind-blowing. This is why you still don’t see any androids walking down the street.
A Look at Deep Learning
It’s hard to talk about machine learning vs AI without also mentioning deep learning. The future of AI likely lies with this branch of machine learning. It’s only been in recent years that the technology has actually existed to give machines the advanced knowledge they need to learn and adapt more like the human mind.
With deep learning, artificial neural networks, much like the human brain, allow for simpler algorithms and more expansive learning networks. As machines learning grows, machines’ performance grows as well. Basically, the machines share knowledge to teach each other. While it sounds like a complex process (and it is), it’s a more efficient way of evolving both machine learning and AI.
Think of deep learning as the next step for AI. It may even be the closest researchers get to more human-like machines, at least for the moment.
Related Read: Meet Your New Favorite AI: Google Assistant
Machine Learning in Action
Machine learning might still sound like something you’d only find in secret research centers in the middle of nowhere, but you probably interact with it in your everyday life. For instance, do you ever use Cortana on Windows 10 or Siri on your iPhone? If so, welcome to machine learning.
The data you provide these virtual assistants is then used to adapt the device to you. Social media is also a popular everyday example. For instance, Facebook gathers information about you to recommend people you might know, products you might like, and which posts to show first based on interactions with past posts.
An example that you might not even realize is your virus and malware protection. With new threats coming out daily, it’s impossible for programmers to keep up manually. This is where machine learning comes into play. The programs learn based on past knowledge about previous forms of malware to automatically discover and block new forms. With each new form, the program learns even more to keep you safer.
Another way you use machine learning daily is through Google searches. The algorithms Google uses to refine searches, recognize spam sites, and personalize searches to your preferences are all examples of machine learning in action.
WordStream has even more examples of how popular companies are utilizing machine learning to improve the user experience. For instance, Pinterest now owns the machine learning company Kosei and uses the technology in every aspect of the platform.
AI in Action
Obviously, since machine learning is a form of AI, all of the above examples are also examples of artificial intelligence. A few examples of AI that you’ve probably used or heard of include:
- Pandora – The music streaming service uses an advanced form of AI that they call “musical DNA.” It’s designed to analyze songs based around 400 characteristics to recommend the best songs for individual users.
- Amazon – It’s one of the most popular forms of AI that people use every single day. All those great recommendations you get from past purchases and views are Amazon’s AI technology in action.
- Nest – If you use the smart thermostat, you know how smart the system actually is. Through AI technology, Nest learns how to adjust your temperatures automatically.
While most people haven’t actually interacted with an autonomous, or self-driving, car, it’s likely one of the best examples of how far AI and machine learning have come. The car acts as a human driver, except without any distractions getting in the way. The technology continues to advance as more data is gathered and the cars literally learn how to drive without a human’s input.
Machine Learning vs AI – The Future
Odds are, you won’t see AI advance quite to the point of popular science fiction movies just yet. It could still be decades before anything comes close. However, you will see more advanced chatbots, IoT devices, and online personalization than ever before.
Related Read: Why Your New Assistant Could Be a Chatbot
Contribution by Crystal Crowder
About the Author
Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.