Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard a great deal by now about virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Hearing about them is one thing, but understanding what they are, how they work, and what benefit they hold is an entirely different issue. Here is what you need to know about machine learning.


Machine learning is the ability of artificial intelligence to observe patterns and take correlative action. Machine learning is essentially the same as human learning but on a much more limited scale. The human brain can make quantum leaps, while machine learning cannot. For instance, if you have a smart thermostat and turn your thermostat down every evening at 9:00, eventually your learning thermostat will begin turning the heat down on its own at 9:00.

What it can’t do, however, is make corrections based on totally unrelated information. For instance, if you were to tell your spouse that you needed to work late that night, your spouse would most likely not turn the heat down at 9:00. If you were to say the same thing to your home hub, it would not make the same correlation. You would need to either tell it specifically to leave the heat on or override it manually.


Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence or one of the many functions of artificial intelligence. One of the primary uses for machine learning is to track patterns and look for irregularities. For instance, machine learning is already being used to monitor your patterns of spending to alert for potential fraud when there are any irregularities. One of the most important uses of machine learning may be in the area of digital security.

While human intelligence is in most ways vastly superior to artificial intelligence, AI does have one distinct advantage. AI is capable of absorbing a vastly larger data set in a fraction of the time it would take the human brain. For instance, if we wanted to analyze hundreds of hours of video footage to look for specific patterns, a human would have to watch it all minute by minute, one video at a time. A computer, however, can scan hundreds of hours of video in just a few minutes and detect any discernible patterns as well any irregularities to any noticeable patterns. While it is not foolproof, this technology can be a significant aid to law enforcement, banks, and other financial institution and a wide range of other businesses and governmental entities.

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