Machine Learning. Computers coming of age

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The machine learning technology proves that today’s computers are acquiring ever more astonishing skills. Perhaps their ability to take in and process newly acquired knowledge will one day enable them to sustain artificial intelligence. What exactly is the computer’s ability to learn?

We are naturally delighted to see babies smile when they recognize our faces as we lean over them. We are amazed to see little ones utter their first words as they repeat after us. Then comes the time when a child begins to make up stories about the fairy tale characters we have read to it about. Finally, it learns to count, draw, write and correct its first school paper. And then one day we hear it express opinions about the world. Opinions that are often so extraordinary they leave us in shock. At this moment, we are witnessing a human being becoming intellectually independent.

Machines that smarten up

Machine learning, or limited self-sufficiency

Some the latest research seeks to eliminate or at least strongly reduce the teaching role played by humans to ensure that algorithms learn independently.

Time for unlimited self-sufficiency

Deep learning systems are designed to emulate the workings of the human brain with its powerful neural networks. Such networks are what allows computers to learn independently without human supervision. In essence, such systems comprise large numbers of parallel processors fed massive amounts of data, including specifications for complex relationships between data. The networks use unlimited flexibility as neurons can be combined into layers. Every layer provides the next one with the results of the previous one until a task is solved.

By and large, a computer’s ability to learn, i.e. improve its operation, results from a single cause. Neural networks are collections of interconnected nodes. Each time a computer acquires a new experience or takes action, its connections reorganize themselves. They become ever more perfect allowing the machine to perform its assigned tasks more efficiently. The fact that computers adapt independently through the experience they gather rather than through a programmer’s interference was a breakthrough in the development of IT and its commercial applications. The main driver of interest in neural networks is unabated demand for structuring and searching through information. In the Big Data era, deep learning technology is our great ally.

Watson will tell you the whole truth

The proliferation of such machines is precisely what today’s business and medicine are counting on. For that reason, any self-respecting technology corporations is making every effort to employ the solutions adopted for this ultra-efficient computer as broadly as possible. Similar solutions are being developed by Elon Musk as well as Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

How to win in the Chinese game of “Go”?

We are all benefitting

Humanity’s collective knowledge at one’s fingertips

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Picture 1: Machine Learning Use Cases. Link

Picture 2: Machine Learning Infographics. Developed by Todd Jaquith and The Futurism Team

Technology is my passion. Head of Microsoft Services CEE. Private opinions only