Transformative Nature of Machine Learning

Updated: May 21, 2020
by Jack Stan
Science fiction literature is rife with musings on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on human life. Perhaps the best portrayal of how that would play out in the real world was the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), directed by Steven Spielberg. Constructing AI is probably the most ambitious human undertaking ever conceived. Simply put, AI is sentient intelligence that could simulate human behavior and think to such an extent that you would intuitively recognize it as an autonomously thinking entity, as you do with other people on a daily basis.However, do notice that many assumptions are embedded in the AI concept:The assumption that we understand what is sentience.The assumption that we understand how the human mind works.The assumption that we understand why humans behave a certain way.The assumption that sentience presupposes some form of free will.It doesn’t take long to grasp that we still lack a proper understanding of the human mind, and the terms we use to describe our mind’s operations. And if we don’t understand that, how can we possibly hope to ever develop a fully-featured AI from the sci-fi movies?For the time being, you might get fooled by a particularly clever chatbot, or bested by a super-computer in a video game, but there is no evidence to suggest there ever will be AI as we have come to understand it from science-fiction.__CONFIG_post_symbol__{"id":"10377"}__CONFIG_post_symbol__Grounding in RealityInstead, what is far more interesting for our immediate reality is machine learning. On the path of researching how to recreate human thinking, many successful machine learning algorithms have been developed. Machine learning simply means that flexible algorithms can be deployed to solve certain problems without being explicitly programmed to. As they are fed data, these algorithms can detect patterns and accumulatively learn.Machine learning algorithms are already in wide use with almost everything concerning language, such as: Matching your interests with ads;Smart spam and malware detector;Text prediction;News generation;Contextual translation;Customer support.In non-linguistic applications, the usage is similarly wide-ranging:Traffic detection, prediction, and navigation;Agricultural crops and livestock management;Video surveillance and facial recognition;Gait recognition.Yes, that last one means that AI bots can discern an individual even based on how he/she walks. It stands to reason, as we humans can do it as well, but with much lesser consistency. As you can see, we are immersed in a world of data, and if that data can be quantified by programming engineers, a machine learning algorithm can as well.How Machine Learning Sneaks into Daily LifeYou know how Spotify somehow knows your music taste? That's machine learning in action. It's like having a DJ who knows exactly what you want to hear. Or think about how Google Maps suggests the fastest route home. That's machine learning, too, working quietly behind the scenes to make life a bit smoother.A Friend in Your PhoneYour smartphone is like a pocket-sized machine learning powerhouse. Ever used a camera filter that makes you look like a cute animal? That's a fun example of machine learning. It's not just changing the way we take photos; it's also making them more fun.Making Sense of the WorldMachine learning is a bit like a super-smart detective. It looks at all the information we have – big mountains of data – and finds patterns we can't see. It's like solving a giant puzzle, but the pieces are data, and the picture is a secret until you put it all together.The Quiet Helper in HealthcareIn hospitals, machine learning is like a silent helper. It doesn't wear a white coat, but it helps doctors spot things they might miss. For example, it can look at X-rays and help find tiny signs of illness that are hard to see. It's like having an extra set of super-keen eyes.Unbiased, Cheap and Efficient EducationEducation is getting a boost from machine learning, too. Imagine a classroom where every student gets help exactly where they need it. Machine learning can help teachers understand each student's needs, making learning more personal. It's like having a tutor who knows exactly what you're struggling with.Based on the continuous feedback the student gives to the program, machine learning can adaptively customize learning lessons and methods. Called adaptive learning, this machine learning algorithm constantly assesses the performance of the student and modifies its teaching algorithms. No mutual student-teacher frustration, no ill-will, no embarrassment – just pure efficiency until the lesson is adequately completed.More importantly, this means that every student can have a personal tutor, but without the cost of one. Keep in mind, only upper-middle-class and rich families could afford personal tutors for every subject. And even then, it often is not enough due to human communication problems and personalities.Unbiased exam assessments would be another huge boom to education. We already know from multiple studies that female teachers rate boys poorly compared to girls. Female teachers had a tremendous negative effect on boys and their employment prospects, which is another negative that could be completely removed by machine learning. Needless to say, machine learning advances will likely force millions of people to change professions or adapt in other ways, but how can anyone stop technology with such obvious net positives? That line of thinking certainly didn’t stop automobiles from overtaking horse carriages.The Future of WorkThink about your job or the jobs around you. Machine learning is changing how we work, but not by taking over. It's more about being a helpful tool. Like in a car factory, it can spot if something's wrong with a car part. It's not about replacing people, but about working together to make things better.Entertainment's New Best FriendMachine learning is shaking things up in movies and games. It's helping create realistic special effects and even whole new worlds in video games. It's like having an artist who never runs out of ideas.A Greener Planet with Machine LearningHere's something cool: machine learning is helping our planet, too. It's being used to track changes in the environment and even predict natural disasters. It's like having a weather wizard who can see into the future.What This All MeansSo, what's the big deal with machine learning? It's not just about fancy tech stuff. It's about making everyday things better, easier, or just more fun. It's in our music, our phones, our health, our jobs, our classrooms, our fun, and even in taking care of our planet. Pretty neat, right?It's exciting to see where machine learning will take us next. It's like we're all on this big adventure, but we don't need a map because machine learning is helping to guide the way. Just imagine what it'll be up to next! __CONFIG_post_symbol__{"id":"30979"}__CONFIG_post_symbol__

About the Author

Online Marketing Career Consultant. Network marketing and web developing since 2009, helping people quit daytime job and earn enough money and freedom. Keen swimmer, horse-rider, cake-baker, a little bit of OCD.

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