The Machine Learns

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The Machine Learns

Some things seem like Science Fiction. Then you realise they’re here now. Machine Learning’s like that.

You’re using it today! When you mark an email as Spam, The Machine learns, improving its automatic detection rate for you and everyone else. Through learning by example, The Machine mimics the way the human brain works. The Machine uses a Neural Net, similar to the arrangement of the brain cells in humans, but built in software or fast Silicon hardware, not biological cells.

For more advanced examples, see “AlphaGo - The Movie”. It isn’t a science fiction movie like “ex Machina”; it’s a documentary about the application of Machine Learning to vocations for which humans spend years in intensive training and rely on “human intuition”. Tasks which have previously been thought beyond the bounds of computers’ capability. Making machines not just as good as an average human, but better than the best expert in the field. After trouncing world champions in the game of Go, the AlphaGo team is setting its sights on medical diagnosis that’s better than the best experts’. A few years ago I’d have thought that impossible in my lifetime, but now a certainty. AlphaGo - the Movie is a real eye-opener and free to view on Youtube

So what does that mean for your business? Let’s consider the Threats before the Opportunities. Someone, somewhere is thinking of using Machine Learning to do what your business does, better and at a fraction of the price. For Amazon, Google, Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Tesla and thousands of venture capital backed start-ups, it’s in their business DNA. Driving cars: yes, you see that on TV. Cutting hair - yes, why ever not. They’ll do what you do, better and at a lower price, sooner than you think.

The Opportunity with the biggest prize is to become the leader in applying Machine Learning to your field, potentially dominating the market. If that’s what you want to do, you’ll need to capture a lot of relevant but tiny pieces of information about the running of your business, feed it into The Machine, and turn it into something world beating with the help of some very clever and creative technical specialists. Like Google did with Spam detection and AlphaGo. If you’ve got the ambition, the vision, the nouse and the stamina then people will want to pump more money into your venture than you’ll know what to do with.

You could work in partnership with a specialist company or form a joint venture with other businesses in your field. Make a good case why they need you rather than another company in your field. It doesn’t have to be an academic research project. You can build applications using pre-trained generic building blocks; from Amazon AWS for example:

  • Comprehend is for finding insights and relationships in text,
  • Rekognition is for image and video analysis: identify objects, people, text, scenes, and activities in images and videos, as well as detect any inappropriate content,
  • Lex is for building conversational interfaces using voice and text,
  • Personalize is for building real-time personalized recommendations for your customers,
  • Translate is a neural machine translation service for fast, high-quality, and affordable language translation
  • Polly's Neural Text-to-Speech (NTTS) turns text into natural sounding human speech allowing you to create applications that talk, and build entirely new categories of speech-enabled products

More simply, you can use off-the-shelf products in your business that incorporate Machine Learning. Starting from a basic capability the products learn what works for your business from your feedback. Actively watch out for new game changing technology that gives your business an edge over your competition. For example:

  • automating processing of paper and e-paper: receipts, invoices, recruitment etc,
  • image recognition: faces, vehicles, objects,
  • customer service: chatbots, voice response, or
  • cybersecurity

That’s why you need a forward looking company like telanova. We work with you to select the IT that’s right for your business from the best of current IT, whether that’s using machine learning, other innovations or other traditional approaches. We integrate new IT into your existing systems, train your colleagues in new ways of working and maintain your edge over the competition.

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