What’s the Difference Between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

Donovan Blaylock II
April 24, 2019

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Hands up if you know the difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning  (AIML)?

If your hand is down, you’re not alone.

Unless you’re a software or coding wizard, it’s unlikely you know the exact differences.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are top computer science terms. Learn more about the difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence and why you should understand both.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is described as the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.

A helpful way of grasping the concept is to describe it as follows. AI is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. It’s a branch of computer science or a kind of computer system.

What makes this system special is its ability to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. These include decision-making, translation, and visual perception.

Many people don’t realize that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time. Forms of AI exist as far back as Greek mythology. During these times, stories of ‘mechanical men’ are described as mimicking the behavior of humans.

Along with this, the very first engineers are known to understand their job in part, as attempting to create mechanical brains.

Our understanding of technology and neuroscience has come leaps and bounds since these early days. As a result, the concept of what actually constitutes AI has changed drastically.

These days, AI offers a pretty legitimate human-to-machine interaction. Machines are moving toward an ability to connect data points, understand requests, and even draw conclusions.

What is Machine Learning?

When we’re talking about machine learning and AI, it’s only natural to discuss ML vs AI. In order to do this effectively, it helps to understand what each of these terms means in the real world.

The most important aspect to remember is that machine learning is a subset of AI. What this means is that all machine learning is technically AI, but not all AI counts as machine learning.

Machine learning describes a field of study that offers computers the ability to learn without being specifically programmed. The key word here is ‘learning’. Machine learning programs are able to adjust themselves according to the data they experience.

Just like a child learns through experience, a similar process occurs here as the program adjusts according to what it’s exposed to over time.

Two central aspects of machine learning are that it modifies itself and it’s dynamic. When we say it’s dynamic, we mean that it doesn’t require human intervention to make certain changes.

The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are trending terms at the moment. These buzzwords are often used interchangeably. This causes confusion about the difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence.

While AI is the broad science of mimicking human abilities, machine learning is a specific subset of AI that trains a machine on how to learn.

It’s clear that they’re not the same thing. Although the two terms will be spoken about in the same contexts. They’re discussed together whenever the topic is related to analytics, Big Data or matters regarding a drastic technological change.

A good way to illustrate the difference is to say that AI is the more general concept of computers being able to perform tasks we would label as ‘smart’. While Machine Learning refers to the idea that machines should be left to process data and learn for themselves, without our interference.

The Next Steps

After reading this it’s clear that Machine Learning isn’t the same as Artificial Intelligence, but it is a subset of it.

Now you’re more aware of the difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning, what are the next steps?

It’s important to have guidance and support when working with tasks and projects related to these two incredible concepts. For more information about accessing the support you require, please contact us. We’re more than happy to walk you through options that will suit you best.

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