Machine Learning

by | Apr 9, 2019 | Articles

Machine Learning (ML) is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based on the theory that computers can learn without being physically programmed to perform specific tasks. The process of learning starts by observing data – such as: examples, direct experience, or instruction – in order to look for patterns and make better decisions about the examples provided. Therefore, encompassing human cognitive ability by learning from experience as humans would do.

Seems complicated? Consider the following example to understand machine learning in its most basic form:

You are trying to throw a piece of paper into the dustbin, after the first attempt, you realize you have thrown it with too much force. On the second attempt, you move closer but realize that you need to improve on your angle. Essentially, you learn something after every attempt to improve the end result, therefore – learning from experience. The same can be said for Machine Learning. The way it is applied, is to learn from attempts/experience/data-points, and improve the outcome.

Machine Learning may already play a big role in your life even if you don’t know it!

Let’s explore some of the familiar and lesser-known applications of Machine Learning in your life…

Familiar Applications of ML:

  1. Facial Recognition

This is one of the most obvious applications for ML. High-quality cameras and software have made Facial Recognition a viable option for both identification and authentication. So when you unlock your cell phone or laptop via facial recognition, or Facebook automatically tags you in photos – this is ML in action!

  1. Voice Recognition

Voice Recognition acts by responding to commands made by the end user. You might already be familiar with the virtual assistant, “Siri” or Google Assistant. For example, you may prompt “Siri” to search for something, open maps or initiate a phone call. Voice recognition software will then analyse the request and provide you with the best response.

  1. Self-driving cars and automated transport

Navigation software – enabled with ML – alerts you in real-time of accidents, traffic, and other incidences on the road. It will then continue to navigate you to the best route, in order to reach your end destination, by avoiding delays on the road. Self-driving cars are also enabled with machine learning, with onboard computers that constantly parse through visual and sensory data and can make split-second decisions which allow them to instantaneously adapt and learn about changing road conditions.

The Lesser-Known:

  1. 1. Innovations in Banking

By using location data and purchasing patterns – banks and credit issuers can now identify, recognize, and alert users of suspicious behaviour as it happens. This is done with machine learning based on anomaly detection models that monitor transaction requests.

  1. Personalized Social Media

Streaming services such as: Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify, already make use of ML algorithms by eliminating buffering and low-quality playback, gathering data of user viewing habits, and offering more useful recommendations.

  1. Improved Health Care

Deep learning models are helping healthcare professionals diagnose patients faster and more accurately, develop new innovative drugs and treatments, reduce medical and diagnostic errors, predict adverse drug reactions, and reduce the cost of healthcare for patients and professionals.


Beyond this, there are many other applications of ML out there and being developed every day. If this article interested you, have a look at this page – it has a whole section on Machine Learning.