Artificial Intelligence (AI) defines an area of computing where intelligent machines think, work and react like humans. Machine learning is a subset of AI and defines intelligent machines which also learn. In machine learning, human programmers create and control the context and parameters of an initial algorithm which is designed to recognise patterns from huge volumes of data.
Then the computer program itself goes on to determine the equations it uses, and improves it over time, to run diagnostics and draw inferences from the patterns in the data. In effect, the program ‘learns through experience’ and adapts itself accordingly. At Fire Tech, we love anything that involves learning!
Machine learning is being used in a broad range of sectors such as healthcare, the automotive and transportation industries, as well as financial services who all have access to large sets of data. More data means more accurate results – think general election polls! Machine learning can also draw on various data types: text, images, sound as well as, of course, numbers.
Utilised across businesses and organisations, machine learning is becoming big news because it can identify trends, make predictions, take decisions and then go on to implement them.
In marketing, machine learning has been used to drive sales on social media channels. For Twitter, this involves analysing the content of tweets and rich meta-data such as location, hashtags, users and re-tweets. In cybersecurity, fingerprint identification helps improve safety.
Machine learning has also been used for social good – drawing on environmental sounds to create programs to assist in real-time those who are deaf or hard of hearing. IBM’s Watson has been used to make accurate cancer treatment recommendations using a process of questions and answers. Machine learning is predicted (did you see what we did there?!) to replace many non-routine, usually human-based, thinking processes.
Nesta’s report The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030 explores the need to prepare budding technologists for the future of work with a rich understanding of computing and a skill set which includes critical thinking as well as creative and social intelligence.
In 2020, in addition to coding knowledge acquisition, Fire Tech’s programme will incorporate Digital Leadership. Founder and CEO, Jill Hodges, explains how this new initiative aims to raise a young person’s “awareness of the power of technology and the ethical questions that surround its effective use”. Fire Tech is continuing to reflect the technology sector which it rightly addressing the social impact of this growing area of computing through the establishment of, for example, The Institute for Ethical AI & Machine Learning.
How can you help us in educating a generation of young people? In wrapping up this blog 🙂 we’ve included two stocking filler good reads for parents: Luckin’s Machine Learning and Human Intelligence and Cathy O-Neil’s book Weapons of Math Destruction which explores society’s increasing reliance on mathematical models to make decisions.
And for your kids? Inspire younger ones to explore machine learning by creating programs in Scratch. For those 11+, increase their confidence in coding using the industry-standard programming language Python to sort data. Fire Tech is preparing thousands of young people to be confident creators of technology and engaged citizens with Spring 2020 programming courses available for booking now.