I am sure a number of you have heard about machine learning. A dozen of you might even know what it is. And a couple of you might have worked with machine learning algorithms too.
You see where this is going? Not a lot of people are familiar with the technology that will be absolutely essential 5 years from now. Siri is machine learning. Amazon’s Alexa is machine learning. Ad and shopping item recommender systems are machine learning.
Let’s try to understand machine learning with a simple analogy of a 2 year old boy. Just for fun, let’s call him Kylo Ren
Let’s assume Kylo Ren saw an elephant. What will his brain tell him ?(Remember he has minimum thinking capacity, even if he is the successor to Vader). His brain will tell him that he saw a big moving creature which was grey in color. He sees a cat next, and his brain tells him that it is a small moving creature which is golden in color. Finally, he sees a light saber next and his brain tells him that it is a non-living object which he can play with!
His brain at this point knows that saber is different from the elephant and the cat, because the saber is something to play with and doesn’t move on its own. His brain can figure this much out even if Kylo doesn’t know what movable means. This simple phenomenon is called Clustering .
Machine learning is nothing but the mathematical version of this process. A lot of people who study statistics realized that they can make some equations work in the same way as brain works. Brain can cluster similar objects, brain can learn from mistakes and brain can learn to identify things.
All of this can be represented with statistics, and the computer based simulation of this process is called Machine Learning. Why do we need the computer based simulation? because computers can do heavy math faster than human brains. I would love to go into the mathematical/statistical part of machine learning but you don’t wanna jump into that without clearing some concepts first.
Let’s get back to Kylo Ren. Let’s say Kylo picks up the saber and starts playing with it. He accidentally hits a stormtrooper and the stormtrooper gets injured. He doesn’t understand what’s going on and continues playing. Next he hits a cat and the cat gets injured. This time Kylo is sure he has done something bad, and tries to be somewhat careful. But given his bad saber skills, he hits the elephant and is absolutely sure that he is in trouble.
He becomes extremely careful thereafter, and only hits his dad on purpose as we saw in Force Awakens!!