AI and machine learning are often used interchangeably, especially in the realm of big data. But these aren’t the same thing, and it is important to understand how these can be applied differently.
Artificial intelligence is a broader concept than machine learning, which addresses the use of computers to mimic the cognitive functions of humans. When machines carry out tasks based on algorithms in an “intelligent” manner, that is AI. Machine learning is a subset of AI and focuses on the ability of machines to receive a set of data and learn for themselves, changing algorithms as they learn more about the information they are processing.
Training computers to think like humans is achieved partly through the use of neural networks. Neural networks are a series of algorithms modeled after the human brain. Just as the brain can recognize patterns and help us categorize and classify information, neural networks do the same for computers. The brain is constantly trying to make sense of the information it is processing, and to do this, it labels and assigns items to categories. When we encounter something new, we try to compare it to a known item to help us understand and make sense of it. Neural networks do the same for computers.
Benefits of neural networks:
- Extract meaning from complicated data
- Detect trends and identify patterns too complex for humans to notice
- Learn by example
- Speed advantages
Deep learning goes yet another level deeper and can be considered a subset of machine learning. The concept of deep learning is sometimes just referred to as “deep neural networks,” referring to the many layers involved. A neural network may only have a single layer of data, while a deep neural network has two or more. The layers can be seen as a nested hierarchy of related concepts or decision trees. The answer to one question leads to a set of deeper related questions.
Deep learning networks need to see large quantities of items in order to be trained. Instead of being programmed with the edges that define items, the systems learn from exposure to millions of data points. An early example of this is the Google Brain learning to recognize cats after being shown over ten million images. Deep learning networks do not need to be programmed with the criteria that define items; they are able to identify edges through being exposed to large amounts of data.