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What Business Leaders Need to Know About Machine Learning | @ThingsExpo #AI #ML #IoT #M2M
Many of the algorithms that fall into the Machine Learning category are analytic algorithms that have been around for decades
By: William Schmarzo
Aug. 4, 2017 05:45 PM
What Tomorrow's Business Leaders Need to Know About Machine Learning
Sometimes I write a blog just to formulate and organize a point of view, and I think it’s time that I pull together the bounty of excellent information about Machine Learning. This is a topic with which business leaders must become comfortable, especially tomorrow’s business leaders (tip for my next semester University of San Francisco business students!). Machine learning is a key capability that will help organizations drive optimization and monetization opportunities, and there have been some recent developments that will place basic machine learning capabilities into the hands of the lines of business.
By the way, there is an absolute wealth of freely-available material on machine learning, so I’ve included a sources section at the end of this blog for folks who want more details on machine learning.
So strap’em on! Time to dive into the world of machine learning!
Machine Learning Basics
Facial, photo and image recognition. For example, the all-important question of “What is a Chihuahua puppy and what is a blueberry muffin?” can be addressed with a well-trained machine learning algorithm (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Puppy versus blueberry muffin exercise
More applications of machine learning will be coming soon, including:
So exactly what is machine learning? Let’s start with a definition of machine learning:
Machine learning is a type of applied artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to gain knowledge without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can change when exposed to new data.
Fundamentally, there are only two things that Machine Learning does:
Machine Learning accomplishes these two tasks using either supervised or unsupervised learning algorithms. What’s the difference? Supervised learning includes the classification or categorization of the outcomes (e.g., fraudulent transaction, customer attrition, part failure, patient illness, purchase transaction, web click) in the observations. Unsupervised learning does not have the outcomes in the observations.
Both classification and regression problems can be solved using supervised Machine Learning techniques. They are called supervised in the sense that the values of the output variable have either been provided by a human expert (e.g., the patient had been diagnosed with diabetes or not) or by a deterministic automated process (e.g., customers who did not pay their fees in the last three months are labeled as “delinquent”). The objective field values along with the input fields need to be collected for each instance in a structured dataset that is used to train the model. The algorithms learn a predictive model that maps your input data to a predicted objective field value.
Clustering: Grouping a set of data examples so that examples in one group (or one cluster) are more similar (according to some criteria) than those in other groups. This is often used to segment the whole dataset into several groups. Analysis can be performed in each group to help users to find intrinsic patterns.
Figure 2 provides a more detailed inventory of the different types of supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms.
Figure 2: Types of Machine Learning Algorithms
Putting Machine Learning to Work
BigML is free for the first 16 gigabytes of data and comes with some pre-loaded data sets and an extensive library of documentation, some of which I used for this blog. For this exercise, we’re going to use a data set that comes bundled with the BigML product: Titanic Survivors Data Set (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Titanic Survivors Data Set
BigML provides a nice feature to allow the data scientist to explore and understand the data sets, and provides some basic statistical information (minimum, median, mean, maximum, standard deviation, kurtosis, skewness) about each of the variables in the data set.
BigML allows you to select from a variety of supervised and unsupervised models. I selected the supervised option (because I knew the classification of the passenger as survived or not survived) and got the decision tree in Figure 4 that predicts the likelihood of a Titanic passenger surviving given a wide variety of different variables (e.g., passenger age, class of travel, fare paid, in what city the passenger boarded).
Figure 4: Titanic Survivors Decision Tree
The resulting Decision Tree provides a series of “If-then” statements; each branch “yields a story” about the chances of survival.
Hint: you want to be young and you want to be rich to improve your odds of surviving the Titanic. That’s something that might be very useful if you ever find yourself on the Titanic.
To learn more about the “Predicting Titanic Survival Outcome” exercise, check out YouTube.
BigML provides a wide variety of machine learning algorithms with which one can play. Plus their documentation on each of the different machine learning algorithms is very impressive. I think these folks would make a fortune if they created an accompanying text book (and I sent them a note telling them such).
Machine Learning Summary
No amount of machine learning is going to replace good old common sense.
Appendix: Additional Machine Learning Sources
The post What tomorrow’s business leaders need to know about Machine Learning? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.
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