Machine learning is a scientific discipline that uses algorithms to learn from data instead of relying on rules-based programming. It works in three stages, i.e. data processing, model building & deployment, and monitoring, with machine learning binding the three together. The power of machine or deep learning cannot be underestimated and as Alexander Linden, Research Vice President of Gartner says, ‘Deep learning can give promising results when interpreting medical images in order to diagnose cancer early. It can also help improve the sight of visually impaired people, control self-driving vehicles, or recognize and understand a specific person’s speech’.
To Opt or Not
Traditional industries have many processes which are governed by rules-based software. This approach is limited in its ability to tackle complex processes. If the rules-based learning can be substituted with self-learning algorithms, then valuable patterns and solutions would emerge.
As a result of digital data and Internet of Things there is a proliferation of data. If you believe this data will help you make intelligent decisions based on patterns, add machine learning. There is no need to add it otherwise as it can make an existing business complicated. Starting with the smaller pieces of the puzzle is better than jumping into it head on. For example, one can collate information from regular reports, apply machine learning to forward-looking predictions.
Machine learning can be useful to detect anomalies, enhance customer services and recommend new products. Manufacturing companies, for example, can benefit from machine learning by self-examining videos where defects can be spotted and automatically rerouted.
Recent developments in machine learning suggest a future in which robots, machines, and devices will be able to operate more independently if they run on self-learning algorithms. This would have far reaching effect in terms of improved efficiency, and cost savings.
Machine learning works best on specific tasks where input and output can be clearly stated. If an organization has a sufficient amount of data, with enough variation, machine learning can produce meaningful approximations.
Finally, it is the technical barriers that become the biggest hurdle in the transition process. To address the actual challenges and the perceived ones, companies need to identify expert data analysts who are capable of developing the intricate algorithms that machine learning requires. It will also require a team of engineers who can provide strategic direction, manage quality, and train internal resources on the tool.