Machine learning is a way to train computer systems to generate useful insights from data sets and apply those insights to new situations. This has the potential to revolutionize many fields, such as medical diagnoses and driving, by excising human discretion and error from the process. Although iterations of this technology have been around since the 1950s, in recent years the explosion of collected data, combined with an increase in computing power, has increased the abilities of this disruptive technology.
Machine learning describes a process by which computer scientists feed large sets of curated data to a computer in order to train it to deal with new situations. The computer “learns” by discovering complex patterns and relationships between the inputs and outputs in the dataset on which it has been trained. The relationships discovered by the computer are then applied to new data, allowing the computer to make useful predictions based on that new data.
The opportunities here are immense—this form of artificial intelligence has the potential to breed new industries and create efficiencies in existing ones.