Machine learning (ML). Artificial intelligence (AI). Internet of Things (IoT). It seems these days there are so many complex terms flying about. In this blog, we’ll break down the basics and share how you’re experiencing these technologies in ways you may not have even realized.

Artificial Intelligence

We can’t talk about machine learning without first discussing artificial intelligence. Long before ML and IoT were commonplace, the concept of AI existed. The term was coined by John McCarthy decades ago in 1955 describing it as, “making a machine behave in ways that would be called intelligent if a human were so behaving.”

Simply put, AI is when machines handle tasks in an intelligent manner in the same ways humans would. Did you know you have AI all around you? Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s personal assistant, and Tesla cars are all examples of AI at work.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a product of artificial intelligence. Where AI is the ability of machines to handle tasks in an intelligent manner, ML takes it one step further and says that machines should not only handle complex tasks the same intelligent way humans would, but they should also have the ability to learn how to handle the complex tasks themselves. This concept is also decades old, dating back to 1959 when Arthur Samuel coined this term defining ML as, “the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.”

Do you know that saying ‘all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares’? Well, the same is similarly true here: all ML is AI, but not all AI is ML.

Interested in the technical aspects of ML, including how neural networks are used? Our software engineer Taylor shared his thoughts and experiences on the blog before.

So how are you experiencing machine learning in your everyday life? Amazon and Netflix recommendations are great examples. As the two learn your buying or watching habits, they make recommendations of what you may be interested in next – and most times, they’re spot on! Or have you ever noticed that as you use your iPhone more and more for texting that it begins to pick up on your common spellings, acronyms and dialects? That’s machine learning.

My name is Ashlee. It’s spelled a little differently than most Ashleys, but my parents spelled it that way when I was born and I haven’t found it on keychains ever since, so what can I do? Apple didn’t program the iPhone to know that when I start typing Ashlee to not autocorrect it to the more popular Ashley, but after several times of me typing and then undoing the autocorrect to change the spelling back to Ashlee, my phone learned that when I type Ashlee, I mean Ashlee not Ashley. That’s machine learning.

And what about Internet of Things?

Artificial intelligence and/or machine learning can converge in the physical world with Internet of Things. IoT is the category of physical objects – like lightbulbs, thermostats, door locks, plugs, etc. – that are connected to the world via the Internet. When those IoT devices also employ ML, like when a Nest thermostat learns your temperature preferences and adjusts the temperature inside your house for you without your action, the two worlds are colliding.

At Oak City Labs, our mission is help businesses and organizations solve daily problems with technology. Utilizing AI and/or ML are excellent ways to accomplish that task. Do you have a problem that you need help solving? If so, let us know! We’d love to chat.

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