AI vs. machine learning: What’s the difference?

A glowing blue brain surrounded by circuit symbols, representing machine learning.When Michelangelo was in his 80s and working on St. Peter’s Basilica, he reportedly remarked, “Ancora Imparo,” or “I am still learning,” according to a blog entry by Pat Ginn, a member of the Lifelong Learning Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. To keep up in the tech world, you must adopt the same mindset and realize that your education will never end as new concepts and solutions emerge.

Additionally, humans are no longer the only ones capable of learning. Machines can also expand their minds these days. With everyone buzzing about artificial intelligence, you’ve likely heard the phrase “machine learning” in connection with AI.

If you’re wondering about the difference between AI and machine learning, this blog entry will cover the basics. Here’s a quick rundown of what every business leader should know about machine learning, how it works, and machine learning versus AI.

What’s the difference between AI and machine learning?

People often use AI and machine learning interchangeably. However, they aren’t exactly the same. To be more precise, machine learning is a subcategory of artificial intelligence, according to IBM. Artificial intelligence is a broad term that describes all machines and programs that imitate human cognition through capabilities such as problem-solving.

Machine learning is one possible application of AI that involves computers figuring things out from experience without direct guidance from humans, according to Google Cloud. This process involves programs leveraging algorithms to analyze datasets, gain insights, and ultimately make decisions and improvements autonomously. Through this process, machines can learn via exposure to data and sharpen their skills, just as humans get better at tasks by practicing and studying.

How machine learning and AI can help your business

Many companies have already begun implementing machine learning to improve efficiency, contain costs, and improve customer and employee experiences. For example, Netflix reportedly saves $1 billion per year by using machine learning to recommend content to customers, according to CompTIA.

Microsoft lists the following as notable applications of machine learning for companies across all industries:

  • Natural language understanding and speech recognition
  • Video and image processing
  • Recommendation algorithms
  • Analyzing sentiment (e.g., during calls with customers in a call center)
  • Predictive analytics for trends and behavior

The advantages of deploying machine learning solutions for your company include greater productivity, increased efficiency, and faster and more well-informed decision-making. There are myriad possible use cases, including but not limited to the following, according to Microsoft:

  • Fraud detection in the financial industry
  • Route improvement for transportation companies
  • Customer service via chatbots, including intent analysis to resolve issues and requests
  • Cancer detection in the healthcare industry via image processing capabilities

If you want to explore your AI and machine learning solution options, our technology consultants would be happy to help. With over 20 years of experience in IT, a vast partner network, access to exclusive research and a tool that creates detailed comparison matrices, we can rapidly identify products and services that align with your specific needs and goals. Why spend dozens of hours vetting possible suppliers and solutions on your own when we can do the homework for you?

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