11 Machine Learning

Self-correcting, self-programming, learning computers. That’s what machine learning is all about, and it’s both exciting, and very scary, particularly if you are one of those “rise of the robots” people, as it elevates machines to human level… and beyond.

Big companies are already using it: your inbox is not as filled with spam anymore thanks to it. Google uses it to identify and de-index dodgy websites and fly-by-night “businesses”; banks use it to help fight fraud; and the insurance industry uses it to calculate risk.

And if you’ve asked Siri for anything, said “OK Google” to your Android device or asked Cortana to remind you about a loved one’s birthday, you’ve seen what machine learning can do first-hand.

In the business world, machine learning can help with things like customer service by analysing and routing customer queries to the correct department quickly. It also helps to understand customer needs by, as an example, analysing social media sentiment around product launches and feeding those insights back to product teams. And that’s just the start.

Expect that to carry on in 2017 and beyond as the big vendors continue to integrate machine learning into their IT product offerings, making them ever-more sophisticated and better-able to service the needs of both businesses and end-users alike.

CrowdFlower’s Lukas Biewald said in an article on TechCrunch that Fortune 500 companies “…invest [in machine learning] because they’ve seen positive ROI. And that’s why innovation will continue.”

Next: Virtual and Augmented Reality

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Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.