This will be the first part of a series about machine learning and artificial intelligence, and their role in information management.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are often used interchangeably, but the concepts, while related, are different. AI is a broader concept that refers to the ability of computers to perform human-like tasks. To many, AI conjures up images of sophisticated robots, perhaps shown to greatest effect in the Terminator series of films by James Cameron. According to Jeff Leak, AI requires the following components:
- The data set: A of data examples that can be used to train a statistical or machine learning model to make predictions.
- The algorithm: An algorithm that can be trained based on the data examples to take a new example and execute a human-like task.
- The interface: An interface for the trained algorithm to receive a data input and execute the human-like task in the real world.
Machine learning is a subset of AI that refers to a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. It is a branch of artificial intelligence based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention (SAS). In other words, machine learning algorithms provide machines with the data they need to learn how to do something without being explicitly programmed to do it. As the machines continue to learn, they can make “educated guesses” based on probability analyses and can learn from their mistakes.
Alan Turing, the famous mathematician and code breaker, predicted the development of machine learning. Turing posited the “imitation game” concept:
It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman.
In Turing’s variation of the imitation game, a machine carries on a conversation via text with a human being. If after five minutes the human is convinced that they are talking to another human, the machine is said to have passed the imitation game. This site provides a brief history of the development of machine learning.
This video presents a brief and informative summary of the differences between AI and machine learning: