7 Characteristics of Machine Learning

Original article was published on Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine

Machine learning has started to transform the way companies do business and the future seems to be even brighter.

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In recent years, machine learning has become an extremely popular topic in the technology domain. A significant number of businesses — from small to medium to large ones — are striving to adopt this technology. Machine learning has started to transform the way companies do business and the future seems to be even brighter.

However, still lots of companies that feel hesitant when it comes to implementing this technology, mainly because of uncertainty about what is machine learning, what are its key characteristics that make it one of the most useful advancements in the tech landscape.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at machine learning and discuss its seven key characteristics that have made it extremely popular.

1- What is machine learning?

Put simply, machine learning is a subset of AI (artificial intelligence) and enables machines to step into a mode of self-learning without being programmed explicitly. Machine learning-enabled programs are able to learn, grow, and change by themselves when exposed to new data. With the help of this technology, computers can find valuable information without being programmed about where to look for specific piece information. Instead, they achieve it by utilizing algorithms which iteratively learn from data.

Machine learning is unique within the field of artificial intelligence because it has triggered the largest real-life impacts for business.

Due to this, machine learning is often considered separate from AI, which focuses more on developing systems to perform intelligent things.

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While the core concept of machine learning isn’t a new one, the ability to apply complicated mathematical calculations to big data automatically — quickly and iteratively — is a recent development.

2- Key characteristics of machine learning

In order to understand the actual power of machine learning, you have to consider the characteristics of this technology. There are lots of examples that echo the characteristics of machine learning in today’s data-rich world. Here are seven key characteristics of machine learning for which companies should prefer it over other technologies.

2.1- The ability to perform automated data visualization

A massive amount of data is being generated by businesses and common people on a regular basis. By visualizing notable relationships in data, businesses can not only make better decisions but build confidence as well. Machine learning offers a number of tools that provide rich snippets of data which can be applied to both unstructured and structured data. With the help of user-friendly automated data visualization platforms in machine learning, businesses can obtain a wealth of new insights in an effort to increase productivity in their processes.

2.2- Automation at its best

One of the biggest characteristics of machine learning is its ability to automate repetitive tasks and thus, increasing productivity. A huge number of organizations are already using machine learning-powered paperwork and email automation.

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In the financial sector, for example, a huge number of repetitive, data-heavy and predictable tasks are needed to be performed. Because of this, this sector uses different types of machine learning solutions to a great extent. The make accounting tasks faster, more insightful, and more accurate. Some aspects that have been already addressed by machine learning include addressing financial queries with the help of chatbots, making predictions, managing expenses, simplifying invoicing, and automating bank reconciliations.

2.3- Customer engagement like never before

For any business, one of the most crucial ways to drive engagement, promote brand loyalty and establish long-lasting customer relationships is by triggering meaningful conversations with its target customer base. Machine learning plays a critical role in enabling businesses and brands to spark more valuable conversations in terms of customer engagement. The technology analyzes particular phrases, words, sentences, idioms, and content formats which resonate with certain audience members. You can think of Pinterest which is successfully using machine learning to personalize suggestions to its users. It uses the technology to source content in which users will be interested, based on objects which they have pinned already.

2.4- The ability to take efficiency to the next level when merged with IoT

Thanks to the huge hype surrounding the IoT, machine learning has experienced a great rise in popularity. IoT is being designated as a strategically significant area by many companies. And many others have launched pilot projects to gauge the potential of IoT in the context of business operations. But attaining financial benefits through IoT isn’t easy. In order to achieve success, companies, which are offering IoT consulting services and platforms, need to clearly determine the areas that will change with the implementation of IoT strategies. Many of these businesses have failed to address it. In this scenario, machine learning is probably the best technology that can be used to attain higher levels of efficiency. By merging machine learning with IoT, businesses can boost the efficiency of their entire production processes.

2.5- The ability to change the mortgage market

It’s a fact that fostering a positive credit score usually takes discipline, time, and lots of financial planning for a lot of consumers. When it comes to the lenders, the consumer credit score is one of the biggest measures of creditworthiness that involve a number of factors including payment history, total debt, length of credit history etc. But wouldn’t it be great if there is a simplified and better measure? With the help of machine learning, lenders can now obtain a more comprehensive consumer picture. They can now predict whether the customer is a low spender or a high spender and understand his/her tipping point of spending. Apart from mortgage lending, financial institutions are using the same techniques for other types of consumer loans.

2.6- Accurate data analysis

Traditionally, data analysis has always been encompassing trial and error method, an approach which becomes impossible when we are working with large and heterogeneous datasets. Machine learning comes as the best solution to all these issues by offering effective alternatives to analyzing massive volumes of data. By developing efficient and fast algorithms, as well as, data-driven models for processing of data in real-time, machine learning is able to generate accurate analysis and results.

2.7- Business intelligence at its best

Machine learning characteristics, when merged with big data analytical work, can generate extreme levels of business intelligence with the help of which several different industries are making strategic initiatives. From retail to financial services to healthcare, and many more — machine learning has already become one of the most effective technologies to boost business operations.

Whether you are convinced or not, the above characteristics of machine learning have contributed heavily toward making it one of the most crucial technology trends — it underlies a huge number of things we use these days without even thinking about them.

3- Why the adoption of machine learning is getting thwarted?

It isn’t possible to predict whether machine learning-enabled systems will replace human workers or not. But it can be said that the biggest factor which is slowing down the advancements of cutting-edge technologies like machine learning is the lack of human skills. A new survey conducted by Cloudera reveals that for 51% of business leaders across Europe, it’s the skills shortage that was holding them back from implementation.

Machine learning, in a similar way like data science, is progressing in a clearly different way. As this technology trend involves capturing, collating, and interpreting data, an effective machine learning professional needs to a master of a huge number of disciplines — from mathematics and statistics to programming — all are required. As you may already imagine, machine learning is pretty complicated stuff and thus, it has become actually difficult for business leaders to find the right candidates who can help them to meet their digital transformation goals.

Those who are interested to become a machine learning professional should choose their learning avenue wisely. Though there are different types of avenues available including self-learning, traditional approach, bootcamps etc, most of them come with their own disadvantages. Given the broad spectrum of machine learning domain and its rapid advancements, aspirants need to understand that no course is actually comprehensive enough. If you too are interested in stepping into this field with real-life knowledge and possess the core skills to some extent, joining a bootcamp like the ones offered by Magnimind Academy would be a good idea.

Final Takeaway

These days, machine learning is gaining serious momentum throughout the world and it has become one of the key responsibilities of senior executives to steer their business in the right direction by leveraging its true characteristics.

We are at the verge of entering a world where machines and humans will work in harmony to collaborate, campaign, and market their products/services in an innovative way which is more personal, effective, and informed than ever before.

In order to attain this, it is the time for business owners to think about how they can leverage machine learning characteristics, how they want the technology to operate and behave to take the business forward. It’s also important to roll out an effective and transparent strategy encompassing machine learning. It’ll help the teams to understand how they can perform their tasks more effectively by embracing the power of machine learning.

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7 Characteristics of Machine Learning was originally published in Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.