What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning is a scientific discipline in the field of Computer Science that gives computers the ability to learn. Learning here refers to computers’ capacity to identify patterns in order to improve their performance on a specific task by using previous experience.

For this purpose, it’s necessary to analyse immense amounts of data in order to draw conclusions and make predictionsThis can’t be done by a person, but it’s possible through algorithms that review millions of data and are able to predict future behaviour, without any kind of human intervention.

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Machine learning tasks can be classified into two main categories:

Supervised Learning: The algorithm is provided with example inputs and their desired outputs. The data is already ‘tagged’ with the correct answer. In this case, the process of an algorithm learning from the training dataset can be thought of as a teacher supervising the learning process. We know the correct answers, the algorithm iteratively makes predictions on the training data and is corrected by the teacher.

Unsupervised Learning: No examples are given to the learning algorithm, so there are no correct answers because there’s no teacher. Algorithms are left to their own devises to discover structure in the data input. The learning algorithm is never told what the data represents.

There are lots of different techniques used by engineers building machine learning systems, as well as many algorithms designed to do the same thing, but using different methods.

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Machine Learning technology is transforming companies from being reactive to being proactive. With quality data and appropriate technologies we can create a database that can be exploited to predict future behaviours, favour those that improve business objectives and avoid those that are harmful. This technology opens a wide range of possibilities. From knowing which is the best time to post a picture on Instagram, to detect fraud in transactions.

Machine Learning is an application of AI that is helping companies to improve the services we use. Giving computers the ability to extract real and useful knowledge from data is opening a new world of possibilities that is already having a big impact in society. If you are interested in knowing some real examples, take a look at this video of Sundar Pichai at the Google’s I/O Keynote ’17.

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