|The Machine Learning Inflection Point|
From conversations I have regularly with execs at many of the leading tech companies today, there is no more used phrase than “machine learning.” Some people say AI, and they mean machine learning they just don’t know it. The reality is nothing we call smart today like smartphones, smartwatches, computers, smart speakers, smart lights, smart home, smart cars, etc., is smart. All our so-called smart tech is pretty dumb. A phrase I’ve been using lately is that most our technology is connected, not smart. Machine learning is the one technology that will take our technology from being connected to being smart.
The science, and math, behind machine learning, is not new. However, recent breakthroughs in the deep learning algorithms paired with advancements in semiconductor performance have finally put the industry in a position to take advantage and progress machine learning in ways not possible before. We can finally teach machines to learn. This will have a profound impact on every aspect of technology.
Computers that can see and hear us are now on the horizon. Nearly all major machine learning up to this point has been text-based. Even that was rudimentary at best compared to what is possible today with big data analysis and data-drove computer training models. Laying the framework of computer vision so machines and finally have eyes was the last step. Tying text, voice, and visual data together is the inflection point we have been waiting for that is finally here.
The applications for machine learning as a new foundation for technology has far-reaching applications. In automotive it is the core technology that will bring fully autonomous vehicles to market. For public safety, it can be used to detect criminal activity or public safety threats, and help law enforcement better react and respond to issues around public safety. In retail, imagine never having to pay for anything with a payment mechanism again as retail checkout systems recognize you and charge your payment method on file. Even our devices in our homes and on our person will get more useful as machine learning invades them as well.
Your Personal Assistant
The biggest area where we, normal consumers, will see machine learning in action is on our personal computers. As these devices learn more about us, their value will increase. Like I mentioned above, our computers will move from connected to being smart, learning about us, adapting to, and becoming even more personal than they are today. This is the framework that will lead to our computing devices becoming true personal assistants.
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