Chapter 7. Black Box Methods – Neural Networks and Support Vector Machines

The late science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."This chapter covers a pair of machine learning methods that may appear at first glance to be magic. Though they are extremely powerful, their inner workings can be difficult to understand.

In engineering, these are referred to as black box processes because the mechanism that transforms the input into the output is obfuscated by an imaginary box. For instance, the black box of closed-source software intentionally conceals proprietary algorithms, the black box of political lawmaking is rooted in the bureaucratic processes, and the black box of sausage-making ...

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