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Introduction: The Difference between Traditional Programming and Machine Learning
Traditional programming involves explicitly telling a computer what to do through a set of instructions, while machine learning involves teaching a computer to learn from data and make predictions or decisions on its own.
Drawbacks of Traditional Programming
One drawback of traditional programming is that it requires a lot of time and effort to write code for every possible scenario. For example: suppose you are trying to write a program to identify a cat. If you rely on traditional programming, you would need to write specific instructions to account for things like how long and fluffy its tail, how does its ears look, specific patterns and colours of its fur, etc. The whole process can be quite cumbersome as we have to consider various species of cats.
Incorporating Machine Learning to Simplify the Process
We can make the entire process much more painless by incorporating machine learning. Machine learning programs can automatically learn to recognize patterns in data on its own. This means, if you supply a Machine learning program with enough examples of cats (we will call it training images), it will learn to identify cats. The awesome power of Machine Learning is its ability to generalize and understand your examples to be able to identify new images of cats (we call it test images) which were not even present in the training set.
Another disadvantage of conventional programming is that it might be difficult to account for all of the many variables that may impact the program’s performance. For example, if you were creating a weather prediction software, you would need to include temperature, humidity, wind speed, and atmospheric pressure. This would be tough to perform manually, and it would be impossible to forecast how all of these factors would interact with one another.
Machine learning programs, on the other hand, can account for the interplay amongst these many parameters and learn to make predictions based on them. They can also automatically adapt to changing data with minimal human intervention. This makes ML much more robust and flexible.
Real World Examples of Machine Learning in Action
Let us now consider a real world example of spam filtering in emails. Emails are generally of two types: spam and ham(i.e. not spam). Previously, spam filtering was primarily handled through rule-based systems that relied on a pre-defined set of rules to identify and filter spam emails. These rules typically looked for specific keywords or phrases commonly used in spam messages, such as “buy now,” “free,” or “4 u”. This approach was limited because spammers quickly found ways to get around these filters by using misspelled or obscured keywords.
Nowadays, spam filtering is typically handled through machine learning algorithms. These algorithms can mine through large amounts of data to automatically detect patterns and anomalies. These algorithms can detect not only specific keywords but also other features such as the sender’s email address, IP address, and email content, to determine the likelihood that a message is spam. They can also adapt and improve over time if spammers decide to change their tactics.
Another area where Machine Learning is especially useful is when the problem is hard. Consider the problem of speech recognition. Speech recognition problems are hard because human speech is highly variable and complex. There are many factors that can affect how speech sounds, including accents, dialects, intonation, background noise, and individual speaking styles. This variability makes it difficult to develop algorithms that can accurately recognize and transcribe speech.
Additionally, natural language is complex and nuanced, with many ways to express the same idea. Machine learning models can be trained on vast amounts of language data to recognize these nuances and understand the intended meaning behind a particular sentence or phrase. This is important for applications like language translation or chatbots, where the goal is to communicate with humans in a non-robotic way.
Conclusion: The Benefits of Machine Learning
Finally, let us talk about how using Machine Learning can help reduce human bias in decision-making. Imagine that you work in the human resources department and have to select potential candidates for a job vacancy. Usually, you may depend on your own preconceptions and prejudices to make a choice, which could result in mistakes and imprecision. Nonetheless, by utilizing Machine Learning, you can apply algorithms to scrutinize resumes, interview transcripts, and other data sources to pinpoint the most competent applicants based on impartial standards. In doing so, you can decrease the possibility of biases and errors in the decision-making process and guarantee that the most suitable person is chosen for the position.
So the advantages of Machine Learning over traditional programming:
- Saves time and effort by automatically learning to recognize patterns in data
- Can account for interplay amongst many variables and adapt to changing data with minimum human intervention
- More robust and flexible than traditional programming
- Can detect patterns and anomalies in large amounts of data, improving over time
- Useful for hard problems such as speech recognition and natural language processing
- Can reduce human bias in decision-making processes.