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A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Learning

by Byrne Anderson
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Within the past several years, computers have become more and more advanced. You are probably familiar with artificial intelligence, or AI, which is defined as a machine’s ability to think and solve problems in a manner similar to that of a human being. Machine learning takes artificial intelligence a step further. Using an algorithm that is either supervised (meaning that it relies on previous examples to perform a function) or unsupervised, the machine will make inferences and draw logical conclusions based on a set of data.

Examples of Machine Learning

Even if you are not familiar with the process of machine learning, you have most likely come across it in your day to day life. For instance, when you watch movies or television shows on a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu, the platform uses a data set (your choices of entertainment) to recommend more content that you are likely to enjoy. If you like romantic comedies, action movies or a certain actor or actress, the machine will recognize this pattern and find other movies and shows that fit the same parameters.

Another great example of machine learning is Facebook’s facial recognition feature. When you upload photos and “tag” photos of your family and friends, Facebook uses your friends list and existing photos of those individuals to make guesses as to the identity of each person in your photos. As you continue to add and identify photos of people, the machine is able to make more accurate guesses.

Machine Learning Tools

There are many different types of machine learning software available. Each one is designed to cater to a different need, and the one that is most appropriate for you depends on which operating system you use (Mac, Windows or Linux); your programming language (Python, Java or C++, for example) and the features that you need. Many of these software tools are free of charge.

If you are interested in analyzing a large, complex set of data and would like the help of a software tool, searching online for “machine learning software” is a great place to start. Since many of the tools available online are free, you can easily try out different types of software until you find the one that works best for you. If you are having trouble getting started, has several online courses that discuss artificial intelligence and machine learning. Good luck in analyzing your data!

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