In layman terms machine learning is the art of teaching or programming a machine to learn by itself using the data given to it.
“A computer program is said to learn from experience E with respect to some task T and some performance measure P, if its performance on T, as measured by P, improves with experience E.”
— Tom Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University
Now you may wonder what exactly is the data. It depends on the problem to be solved by the machine. If the machine has to give a movie the user would most probably like then the machine will be provided with the data of the user’s past movie choices and also the data of users who had similar choices of movies and then it will recommend the most probable choice.
Why the sudden interest in Machine Learning?
We all know the amount of data that is generated in the world today. And all this data has something to tell but it is impossible for humans to process such amount of data. So with help of super computers we can now make the task easier.
Real life examples of Machine Learning:
1. Google Search: every time you type in the keywords the pages are ranked according to your preferences. For example if two different people one a Java coder and another a textile worker search for the term “thread”. Both would get different results. The java coder is most likely to get java threads links at the top and the other one Threads used in clothes etc. All this is because the algorithms running in the back have researched the past searches and visited links and have learned of the user’s preferences.
2. Another example is the google self driving car. After hours of the humans training the car through driving it, the machine learns it and then implements it later just as a human would.
3. Recommendation systems in Netflix, YouTube, Flipkart, Amazon etc. all use machine learning algorithms in the background.
So to wrap up machine learning is basically humans trying to mimic the learning processes of a human using a machine so it can perform tasks a human could. It is teaching machines to think.
Let me introduce you to NELL (Never Ending Language Learner) a computer system that, over time, is teaching itself to read and understand the web.
It has its own twitter account and every few hours it tweets about some new fact it learned. And it changes its confidence level by the likes and dislikes on it.
The link to its twitter account : https://twitter.com/cmunell
Hope you enjoyed reading it.
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