Uses and abuses of machine learning

At its core, machine learning is primarily interested in making sense of complex data. This is a broadly applicable mission, and largely application agnostic. As you might expect, machine learning is used widely. For instance, it has been used to:

  • Predict the outcomes of elections
  • Identify and filter spam messages from e-mail
  • Foresee criminal activity
  • Automate traffic signals according to road conditions
  • Produce financial estimates of storms and natural disasters
  • Examine customer churn
  • Create auto-piloting planes and auto-driving cars
  • Identify individuals with the capacity to donate
  • Target advertising to specific types of consumers

For now, don't worry about exactly how the machines learn to perform these tasks; we will ...

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