IDG Contributor Network: Starting a discussion on machine learning


As the term ML (machine learning) gains attention and popularity, it begins to lose its true definition and risks becoming poorly-used marketing language. ML is so much more than a buzzword, it is something that holds promise and profound beauty for our civilization.

Existing computers are merely declarative devices, taking explicit instructions from different inputs for quick processing. Methods are specific and structured with limited expectations.

The ML process differs in that it should accept desired outcomes with example inputs to then complete a different task without further instruction. This new paradigm assumes a machine can do more with less by applying past experience to different situations.

Decisions based on new information

Imagine a robotic arm on a conveyor belt that sorts bottles and cans all day as they come down the belt. The arm is programmed to tell the difference between the shape of a can and the shape of a bottle as it puts them each in separate bins at the end of the belt nicely with no mistakes.