In recent years, technology has advanced at an incredible pace.
There are dozens of areas that have been vastly enhanced by the presence of the internet and growing technologies.
One of the most intriguing areas of growth is in machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.
This branch of science has garnered attention in popular culture because of the fascination and importance of artificial intelligence, and the fascination is well earned.
Not only is the layman more interested in artificial intelligence than ever before, but many employers want their data scientists to have advanced knowledge and understanding of machine learning.
So why is machine learning so interesting and important to so many?
In short, it’s because of the practical applications of the field, in addition to the implications the field has for the future of humanity.
Here’s a brief guide to machine learning: what it is, how it can be used, and how you can learn to master it.
Table of Contents
What is machine learning?
Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence, or AI, which involves machines learning and growing as they work and develop. It primarily revolves around the concept of machines learning how to perform tasks without the need for the explicit and specific programming involved in those tasks.
They use data provided by scientists to learn new and cutting-edge ways to solve the problems they’re attempting.
While traditional programming involves “teaching” the machine every step involved in the process of solving a certain problem, machines who “learn” by themselves can do so without being programmed.
The science has been explored for decades but is still essentially in its infancy.
Breakthroughs are accelerating, however, because of the vast and free swath of information given to humanity by the internet.
For example, those CAPTCHA tests you sometimes have to complete when you’re filling out a form are a example of machine learning in action.
By clicking images containing traffic lights or bicycles, you’re actually helping train Google’s object detection models for self-driving cars!
Uses for machine learning
Many of the most technologically advanced industries – such as the medical industry and the finance industry – can use machine learning to improve and streamline the fundamental tasks at hand.
Fields dealing directly with technology can also benefit from machine learning because of the inherent link between the industry and the use of data and digital information.
Here are some of the most promising areas and fields that will benefit most highly from improvements in machine learning.
Hackers and other malicious agents have been a thorn in the side of internet users since the turn of the century. Malware and phishing attempts are still a massive problem, but they can be mitigated to a large extent with the use of machine learning.
Machine learning can detect malware files and codes because most pieces of malware have the same code as previous versions of that malware. It’s been estimated that only about eight percent of malware is uniquely different from other forms of malware. If machines can learn what malware looks like in its coding, they can be trained to “sniff it out” like basset hounds.
Trading and stock watching
One of the most mystifying and complex activities the human race ever invented was stock trading. There are billions of people worldwide who try to predict where a certain stock will go next and use that information to their advantage.
Of course, it’s impossible for humans to predict the movement of stocks with pinpoint accuracy, but it may be possible for machines to learn their movements with complete and unmissable accuracy.
In addition, computers can understand, process, and execute a massive number of trades every second, much faster than humans can. This could improve the speed and efficiency of the market and allow retail traders to flourish as never before possible.
Healthcare predictions and diagnoses
Another area where processing patterns and making accurate predictions is paramount, machines can learn to do both of these tasks much more effectively and efficiently than humans can.
While we probably won’t be seeing any robotic surgeons anytime soon, machines could theoretically be tasked with detecting medical anomalies and using patterns to diagnose patients.
In fact, computers are already spotting certain types of cancers in women nearly a full year before they fully develop. These early results are intriguing, and machines are only getting better at spotting patterns and making predictions based on the available data.
Improving search engine results
While not as important and groundbreaking as many areas and fields, machines are being used more and more by certain search engines and search engine companies.
Google and Bing are in a stiff competition to see who can develop the most sophisticated AI currently because their users benefit from a greater search engine tracker.
Organizing links effectively and helping people find what they’re looking for can greatly increase business for both of these companies and make the lives of many easier and less stressful.
Sophisticated machine learning techniques will also make searching much quicker and more effective as time goes on.
How to get started with machine learning
These courses will teach you the basics of machine learning and dive deeper into the topic for those who are looking to pursue careers as data scientists.
You’ll learn some incredible skills, liking writing SQL query databases, understanding Python, learning the process of solving data problems, and mastering analysis and logical deduction techniques.
Additionally, many of the courses offer certifications, so you can get recognition for your learning and start a career in data science and data engineering.
Machine learning is not a new field, but it is being reinvented with the vast amounts of research and progress scientists are making.
In little to no time, we have fully fledged artificial intelligence, will put humanity on a path to the future and beyond.
The discipline is being used in a myriad of fields and it’s never too early or late to learn the skill for yourself!