What is the Difference between AI and Machine Learning – For Marketeers!

Latest FAD’s of technology marketing – AI versus Machine Learning

You must have been completely off the radar not to see that many technology companies are now turning to AI as the latest must-have in their repertoire of technology offerings and marketing promotions.

Recently a company I used to work with announced that their video archiving solution was now incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI). I then promoted their posts within some of my own social media networks, as after all we are still friends. Their basic premise is that with the use of AI, they were able to automatically add metadata to videos within the disk archive making them easier, as a large legacy video archive, to search which then enables their customers to repurpose content that previously was almost impossible. Which I thought was quite innovative.

However another contemporary of mine, in the same industry, replied back to one of my posts, saying that this was not AI but in fact “Machine Learning”.

So who was right?

As a marketeer, I am always looking for new hooks that we can use to create interesting marketing content and AI is certainly being promoted by many technology companies to keep themselves relevant and innovative. Another post today by a new technology start-up “peaked” my interest given they are promoting themselves as an AI company. There post claimed they are working with a retailer that enables their customer to have directly targeted product promotions based on their online behavior. So is this really AI or Machine Learning?

It does seem there is much confusion around this topic, and I would love to hear other people’s views on this.

But my understanding is as follows.

Artificial Intelligence in the realms of computing technology, is nothing new. Some even consider the humble pocket calculator as artificial intelligence – it is basically automating the tasks that can be done by human intelligence. So age-old software that is used to calculate tax returns can be considered AI. My son plays Fortnight, and apparently, he tells me when a game is not full, then there are “artificial players” that will make up the numbers. This is AI.

In the context of the storage company above, their new AI functionality is in fact AI as it is basically taking the place of a human to go through and label content. In my opinion, my contemporary was wrong to say that it is machine learning.

Machine Learning on the other hand, is as it self describes, is learning from the environment in which it is placed. So for example the retail example above could be considered machine learning as it is targeting product advertising based on what it learns from the consumers behavior.

There are many forms of Machine Learning, and as part of this post I don’t intent to go into detail, but Deep Learning is also in the mix.

But here comes the next marketing shell shock – it is not one or the other. Deep Learning is a subset of Machine Learning, which itself is a subset of AI. So the retailer quoted above even though they can be considered to be utilising Machine Learning techniques, are well within their rights to say they are utilising AI. And for my contemporary to complain that it is not AI but Machine Learning does in fact just intensifies his own misunderstanding.

Anybody disagree?!

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