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January 2, 2023
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Machine Learning vs Deep Learning: What's the Difference?

In this article, we will explore the differences between machine learning and deep learning, two approaches to creating artificial intelligence (AI)

Machine Learning vs Deep Learning: What's the Difference?

In this article, we will be discussing the two main approaches to creating artificial intelligence (AI): machine learning and deep learning.

We will explain these terms, compare and contrast the two approaches, and explore where they are currently being used. We will also consider the future of deep learning and the different types of AI.

Machine learning vs deep learning - TLDR

Machine learning involves feeding computer information and allowing it to "learn" from it, while deep learning involves creating a computer system that can "simulate a brain" and learn independently.

Deep learning is essentially a more complex form of machine learning.

Deep learning is able to recognize patterns in data that are too complex for traditional machine learning algorithms.

There are currently several applications of machine learning and deep learning in various fields. Some examples include self-driving cars, which use deep learning to recognize and react to their surroundings, and personal assistants like Siri or Alexa, which use machine learning to understand and respond to voice commands.

Table showing Machine Learning vs Deep Learning characteristics

Machine Learning Examples

  1. Image Recognition
    Machine learning algorithms identify objects in images or videos. For example, facial recognition software can detect faces in an image or video.

    And why is image recognition an example of machine learning and not deep learning? Image recognition is a form of machine learning that involves the use of algorithms to identify and classify objects within an image. It is not considered deep learning because it does not involve the use of neural networks or other complex architectures.

    Instead, image recognition relies on simpler algorithms that can detect patterns in the data and make predictions about what the image contains.
  2. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
    Machine learning algorithms are used to process natural language and extract meaning from it. For example, a chatbot can understand and respond to user queries.
  3. Recommender/Recommendation Systems
    Machine learning algorithms recommend products or services to users. For example, a movie recommendation system can suggest movies to users based on their past viewing history. The classic example is Netflix and how they famously promised a prize of 1 million USD to anyone that could create a better recommendation engine.
  4. Predictive Analytics
    Machine learning algorithms predict future outcomes based on past data. For example, a predictive model could be used to predict customer churn, allowing businesses to take steps to retain customers proactively.
  5. Reinforcement Learning
    Machine learning algorithms learn from experience and optimize decisions. For example, a game-playing AI can be used to learn how to play a game by trial and error. Reinforcement learning can be used in conjunction with deep learning, but it is not necessarily the same.

Deep Learning Examples

  1. Autonomous Vehicle Navigation
    Autonomous vehicles use deep learning algorithms to identify objects in the environment, such as other vehicles, pedestrians, and traffic signs. This allows them to make decisions about how to navigate the roads safely.
  2. Facial Recognition
    Deep learning algorithms are used to identify and classify faces in images. This technology is used for security purposes, such as unlocking phones and verifying identities.
  3. Medical Diagnosis
    Deep learning algorithms can be utilized to recognize illnesses and irregularities in medical images, assisting physicians in making more precise diagnoses and providing superior treatment to those in need.
  4. Image Captioning
    Deep learning algorithms can generate captions for images, describing what is in the image in natural language.

    Image captioning is a task that requires the use of deep learning algorithms rather than machine learning algorithms because it requires the ability to understand the content of an image. Deep learning algorithms can recognize patterns in images and use natural language processing to generate captions that accurately describe the content of the image.

    Machine learning algorithms, on the other hand, are limited to recognizing patterns in data, but are not able to understand the content of an image. Deep learning algorithms are therefore better suited for image captioning tasks, as they are able to generate captions that accurately describe the content of an image.
  5. Object Detection
    Deep learning algorithms can be used to detect and classify objects in images. This can be used for a variety of applications, such as tracking objects in videos or recognizing objects in surveillance footage.

Using Object Detection as an example - how deep learning is more sophisticated than conventional machine learning

Object detection is a task that can be performed using machine learning or deep learning.

In machine learning, object detection involves training a model to identify objects in images or video by learning to recognize patterns in the data. This can be done using a variety of approaches, such as support vector machines (SVMs) or decision trees.

Deep learning approaches can also be used for object detection, and they have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the success of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) in this domain. In general, deep learning approaches tend to perform better on object detection tasks than traditional machine learning approaches, but they also require more data and computational resources to train.

Deep learning techniques are often more successful at object recognition tasks than traditional machine learning algorithms because they can learn to identify patterns in the data from the original input, instead of depending on features that have been specifically designed. This allows them to recognize more intricate and subtle connections in the data, which can be especially useful for tasks such as object detection where the objects of interest can be found in a variety of positions, sizes, and orientations.

Additionally, deep learning approaches can learn hierarchical representations of the data, with different layers in the network learning to recognize increasingly complex patterns. This hierarchical structure* allows them to learn more abstract concepts and capture more context from the data, which can be important for tasks like object detection, where the relationships between different objects and their surrounding context can be important for understanding the scene.

'Hierarchical representations' in the context of deep learning refers to the way that a computer program is able to understand and analyze data by breaking it down into smaller parts and analyzing each part separately. Imagine a pyramid where the top level represents the most general and broad concepts, and each level below it becomes more specific and detailed.

Deep learning approaches can use this pyramid structure to understand the data, with different layers in the network learning to recognize increasingly complex patterns.

This allows them to learn abstract concepts and capture more context from the data, which is important for tasks like object detection where the relationships between different objects and their surrounding context can be important for understanding the scene.

Finally, deep learning approaches can be trained on very large datasets, which can be critical for tasks like object detection where the data is highly variable, and the models need to generalize well to new examples.

So in bullet form this mean that;

  • Object detection is a task that involves identifying objects in images or video using machine learning or deep learning.
  • Machine learning uses patterns in data to identify objects, while deep learning can learn from the data itself and recognize more subtle patterns.
  • Deep learning often performs better for object detection, but requires more data and resources to train.
  • Deep learning can recognize complex patterns and understand context, which is useful for detecting objects in different positions and orientations.
  • Large datasets are needed to train deep learning models for object detection, as the models need to be able to generalize to new examples.

Machine learning (blue) is still the most used searched for of the two terms in Google (source: Google Trends)

Artificial intelligence vs machine learning and deep learning

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) are three closely related terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are distinct concepts and understanding the differences between them is important for understanding the current state of AI and its potential applications.

At its core, AI is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart”. This could include anything from facial recognition to playing a game of chess.

AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the intelligence displayed by machines or computers. The term was first coined in 1956 by John McCarthy in a paper for a conference and refers to the use of intelligence in technology.

The term AI is typically used when a machine is able to perform a cognitive task that would normally require natural intelligence, such as pattern recognition or problem solving. But these days it's used (some would say overused) in many different setting.

Machine learning is a subset of AI that focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. This means that the computer can learn from the data without being explicitly programmed.

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that uses algorithms to model high-level abstractions in data. It uses multiple layers of processing to analyze data and make decisions, and is particularly useful for tasks such as image recognition and natural language processing.

In summary, AI is the broadest term, encompassing all types of machine intelligence. Machine learning is a subset of AI that focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that uses algorithms to model high-level abstractions in data.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) are related terms that are often used interchangeably, but are distinct concepts.
  • AI refers to the intelligence displayed by machines or computers and is typically used when a machine can perform tasks requiring natural intelligence.
  • Machine learning is a subset of AI that involves developing computer programs that can learn from data without explicit programming.
  • Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that uses algorithms to analyze data and make decisions, particularly useful for image recognition and natural language processing.

Levels of artificial intelligence

There are various types or levels of artificial intelligence that can be distinguished by their capabilities and functions.

Narrow AI, also known as weak AI, is a type of artificial intelligence that is designed to perform a specific task or a small set of tasks. It is the most common type of AI that we see today and is used in applications such as language translation, image and speech recognition, and autonomous vehicles. Narrow AI is not capable of exhibiting human-like intelligence or adapting to new tasks beyond its programmed capabilities.

General AI, also known as strong AI, is a type of artificial intelligence that is able to exhibit human-like intelligence and adapt to a wide range of tasks.

It is still a theoretical concept and has not yet been achieved in practice. A general AI would be able to interact with its environment in a way that is similar to how a human would, and would be able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

Some people suggest that the highly sophisticated language models such as GPT-3 and ChatGPT may be situated somewhere between weak and strong AI, or at least give the impression of being "aware" and able to pass the Turing test due to their ability to generate complex and human-like responses.

Super AI, also known as artificial superintelligence, is a hypothetical type of artificial intelligence that is significantly more intelligent than the best human minds in almost every field, including scientific, creative, and practical intelligence.

It is a highly speculative concept and it is not clear when, or if, it will ever be possible to achieve. Some experts (including Elon Musk when he famously pointed to AI as one of the biggest existential threat to humankind) have raised concerns about the potential risks and consequences of creating super AI, as it could potentially surpass human intelligence to such a degree that it becomes a threat to humanity.

Illustration from Waitbutwhy

If you are intrigued by this development of Super AI I recommend you read the very detailed and well-written The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence.

Why are machine learning, deep learning and AI important for a SEO marketer?

Machine learning, deep learning and AI are becoming increasingly important for SEO marketers as they allow for more efficient and accurate optimization of search engine rankings. Just explore the many different ways something like ChatGPT might be used for SEO purposes.

These technologies can help marketers better understand user behavior and preferences, allowing them to create more effective campaigns and strategies.

Here are five key ways that machine learning, deep learning and AI can benefit SEO marketers:

1. Automated keyword research: Machine learning and AI can help marketers quickly and accurately identify the best keywords to target for their campaigns. This can save time and money, as well as help marketers stay ahead of the competition.

2. Improved content optimization: AI can help marketers optimize their content for specific keywords, helping to ensure that their content is more likely to rank higher in search engine results. (did anyone say SEO.ai?)

3. More accurate link building: Deep learning and AI can help marketers identify the most relevant and authoritative websites to link to, helping to improve their link building efforts.

4. More efficient analytics: Machine learning and AI can help marketers quickly analyze large amounts of data, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their SEO strategies.

5. Improved user experience: AI can help marketers create more personalized experiences for their users, helping to improve engagement and conversions.

Machine Learning vs Deep Learning: What's the Difference?

+20 years of experience from various digital agencies. Passionate about AI (artificial intelligence) and SEO

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