We have started recording data like never before. Our smartphones track our every location, our credit cards track our every purchase and our computers are recording our every keystroke. Now this information is no longer static, it is being used for some impressive purposes. There are now wristwatches that measure our entire biochemistry, there are self-driving cars and our computcomputers can now provide personalise shopping suggestions, based on search history.This rapid advancement in technology is demonstrated by machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, which is a computer’s ability to learn without being explicitly programmed to do so. It works on the principal that from more experience, a computer can improve it’s own performance. One example of machine learning is the finger print sensors on our phones. The first time we provide our fingerprint, the program begins to build up a mathematical image of the finger. The sensors take images from the sub epidermal layers of our skin, mapping out our unique ridges and contours.
The more images are taken, the better the mathematical image. Eventually the fingerprint sensor is able to recognise the print to an incredibly precise detail. This example of machine learning is consistent with the definition above. The more data we give the machine, the computer is able to learn, and improve its detection. This is a very simplistic example, but machine learning is being used for much more complex, and beneficial ways for society.