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21/3/2018 The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning | IoT For All

The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence,


Machine Learning, and Deep Learning
Explanations of Arti cial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and how they’re all di erent.
Plus, how AI and IoT are inextricably connected.

By Calum McClelland - February 23, 2017

00:00 00:00

Listen to the audio version of this article!

We’re all familiar with the term “Arti cial Intelligence.” After all, it’s been a popular focus in

movies such as The Terminator, The Matrix, and Ex Machina (a personal favorite of mine).
But you may have recently been hearing about other terms like “Machine Learning” and
“Deep Learning,” sometimes used interchangeably with arti cial intelligence. As a result, the
difference between arti cial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning can be very
unclear.

I’ll begin by giving a quick explanation of what Arti cial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning
(ML), and Deep Learning (DL) actually mean and how they’re different. Then, I’ll share how

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AI and the Internet of Things are inextricably intertwined, with several technological
advances all converging at once to set the foundation for an AI and IoT explosion.

So what’s the difference between AI, ML,


and DL?

First coined in 1956 by John McCarthy, AI involves machines that can perform tasks that
are characteristic of human intelligence. While this is rather general, it includes things like
planning, understanding language, recognizing objects and sounds, learning, and problem
solving.

We can put AI in two categories, general and narrow. General AI would have all of the
characteristics of human intelligence, including the capacities mentioned above. Narrow AI
exhibits some facet(s) of human intelligence, and can do that facet extremely well, but is
lacking in other areas. A machine that’s great at recognizing images, but nothing else, would
be an example of narrow AI.

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21/3/2018 The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning | IoT For All

At its core, machine learning is simply a way of achieving AI.

Arthur Samuel coined the phrase not too long after AI, in 1959, de ning it as, “the ability to
learn without being explicitly programmed.” You see, you can get AI without using machine
learning, but this would require building millions of lines of codes with complex rules and
decision-trees.

So instead of hard coding software routines with speci c instructions to accomplish a


particular task, machine learning is a way of “training” an algorithm so that it can learn how.
“Training” involves feeding huge amounts of data to the algorithm and allowing the algorithm
to adjust itself and improve.

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To give an example, machine learning has been used to make drastic improvements to
computer vision (the ability of a machine to recognize an object in an image or video). You
gather hundreds of thousands or even millions of pictures and then have humans tag them.
For example, the humans might tag pictures that have a cat in them versus those that do not.
Then, the algorithm tries to build a model that can accurately tag a picture as containing a
cat or not as well as a human. Once the accuracy level is high enough, the machine has now
“learned” what a cat looks like.

Deep learning is one of many approaches to machine learning. Other approaches include
decision tree learning, inductive logic programming, clustering, reinforcement learning, and
Bayesian networks, among others.

Deep learning was inspired by the structure and function of the brain, namely the
interconnecting of many neurons. Arti cial Neural Networks (ANNs) are algorithms that
mimic the biological structure of the brain.

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In ANNs, there are “neurons” which have discrete layers and connections to other “neurons”.
Each layer picks out a speci c feature to learn, such as curves/edges in image recognition. It’s
this layering that gives deep learning its name, depth is created by using multiple layers as
opposed to a single layer.

AI and IoT are Inextricably Intertwined


I think of the relationship between AI and IoT much like the relationship between the human
brain and body.

Our bodies collect sensory input such as sight, sound, and touch. Our brains take that data
and makes sense of it, turning light into recognizable objects and turning sounds into
understandable speech. Our brains then make decisions, sending signals back out to the
body to command movements like picking up an object or speaking.

All of the connected sensors that make up the Internet of Things are like our bodies, they
provide the raw data of what’s going on in the world. Arti cial intelligence is like our brain,
making sense of that data and deciding what actions to perform. And the connected devices
of IoT are again like our bodies, carrying out physical actions or communicating to others.

Unleashing Each Other’s Potential


The value and the promises of both AI and IoT are being realized because of the other.

Machine learning and deep learning have led to huge leaps for AI in recent years. As
mentioned above, machine learning and deep learning require massive amounts of data to
work, and this data is being collected by the billions of sensors that are continuing to come
online in the Internet of Things. IoT makes better AI.

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Improving AI will also drive adoption of the Internet of Things, creating a virtuous cycle in
which both areas will accelerate drastically. That’s because AI makes IoT useful.

On the industrial side, AI can be applied to predict when machines will need maintenance or
analyze manufacturing processes to make big ef ciency gains, saving millions of dollars.

On the consumer side, rather than having to adapt to technology, technology can adapt to
us. Instead of clicking, typing, and searching, we can simply ask a machine for what we need.
We might ask for information like the weather or for an action like preparing the house for
bedtime (turning down the thermostat, locking the doors, turning off the lights, etc.).

Converging Technological Advancements Have


Made this Possible
Shrinking computer chips and improved manufacturing techniques means cheaper, more
powerful sensors.

Quickly improving battery technology means those sensors can last for years without
needing to be connected to a power source.

Wireless connectivity, driven by the advent of smartphones, means that data can be sent in
high volume at cheap rates, allowing all those sensors to send data to the cloud.

And the birth of the cloud has allowed for virtually unlimited storage of that data and
virtually in nite computational ability to process it.

Of course, there are one or two concerns about the impact of AI on our society and our
future. But as advancements and adoption of both AI and IoT continue to accelerate, one
thing is certain; the impact is going to be profound.

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Calum McClelland
http://www.leverege.com

Calum is the Managing Editor of IoT For All. With a degree in Philosophy from Brown University, Calum is deeply interested in the
moral rami cations of new technologies. He believes in leveraging the Internet of Things and related tech to build a better world
for everyone.

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