Fraud Blocker
0333 313 5005|

Machine Learning: What is it and why does it matter?

Home » What is Machine Learning?

Understanding Machine Learning

Machine learning is an artificial intelligence technique where computers learn from data without the need for programming. The process comprises of three components.


In machine learning, data serves as the foundation. Having more data can help improve the performance of algorithms in making predictions and decisions.


Machine learning algorithms are developed to process and assess data, acquire from it, and formulate forecasts and decisions.


Training an algorithm with data produces machine learning models, which can then be applied to new data sets in order to derive predictions and decisions.

Types of Machine Learning

There are three main types of machine learning:

Supervised Learning

Supervised learning is the most common type of machine learning. It involves training an algorithm with labeled data, which means the data is already categorized. The algorithm then uses that labeled data to make predictions about new, unlabeled data.

Unsupervised Learning

Unsupervised learning involves training an algorithm with unlabeled data. The algorithm then identifies patterns and insights in the data without being told what to look for.

Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement learning involves training an algorithm through trial and error. The algorithm is rewarded for making the right decisions and penalized for making the wrong ones.

Key Components of Machine Learning

There are several key components of machine learning:

Data Preprocessing

Before training a machine learning algorithm, the data must be preprocessed to remove noise, handle missing data, and convert data into a suitable format.

Feature Selection

Feature selection involves selecting the most relevant features from the data that can help the algorithm make accurate predictions.

Model Selection

Choosing the right machine learning model is crucial to achieving accurate results.

Model Training

Model training involves training the selected machine learning model on the preprocessed data.

Model Evaluation

Model evaluation involves testing the trained model on a separate set of data to measure its accuracy.

Real-world Applications of Machine Learning

Machine learning has numerous real-world applications. Here are some examples:

Image Recognition

Machine learning algorithms can be trained to recognise objects in images, which has numerous applications, such as facial recognition, security systems, and self-driving cars.

Natural Language Processing

Machine learning algorithms can be trained to process and analyse natural language, which has applications in chatbots, voice assistants, and language translation.

Fraud Detection

Machine learning algorithms can be trained to detect fraudulent behavior, which has applications in finance, e-commerce, and healthcare.

Who’s using machine learning?

These days large amounts of data are present in many industries; and businesses are starting to recognise machine learning as an effective way of dealing with and analysing this data.

Using this companies are able to gain an insight into specific markets and identify opportunities in real-time.

Health care

Machine learning is rapidly growing within the health care industry; this is in no small part down to the plethora of wearable devices that can now use data to monitor our health.

Marketing and sales

As mentioned previously, machine learning plays a huge role when it comes to remarketing. This works by search engines, predominantly Google, analysing your purchase history and then showing you other items you may be interested in.


It’s within many government bodies’ interests to make sure that they analyse their data as effectively and efficiently as possible. It’s possible for the utilities agency to see opportunities for savings by using data collected from sensors. For example, they can see if nobody uses a particular road between specific times; so in that case there’s no need for street lamps to be active.

Financial services

There are two main reasons why businesses in the financial industry are taking advantage of machine learning. Firstly to help provide important insights such as spend patterns; and secondly to prevent fraud.


For an industry whose stock-in-trade is to make routes more efficient and predict potential problems, being able to identify patterns and trends is crucial. It’s a key part of any delivery company or transportation agency.

Future of Machine Learning

Machine learning has the potential to revolutionise many industries, such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and transportation, due to the growing prevalence of big data and the necessity for automation.

Deep learning, which involves the use of deep neural networks with vast amounts of data, is an important trend in machine learning. It has already been instrumental in developments such as computer vision and natural language processing, and its impact will likely further expand in the future.

The importance of explainable AI is gaining prominence in machine learning, as it provides clarity and insight into the decisions and predictions made by algorithms. This is especially important for regulated industries like healthcare and finance, where there may be major impacts to the competencies generated.

FAQs on Machine Learning:

Q: What’s the difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence?

A: Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that involves training algorithms to learn from data. AI is a broader field that includes other techniques like rule-based systems and expert systems.

Q: Is machine learning difficult to learn?

A: Machine learning can be challenging to learn, especially if you don’t have a strong background in mathematics and programming. However, there are many online resources and courses available that can help you get started.

Q: What are some common machine learning algorithms?

A: Some common machine learning algorithms include linear regression, logistic regression, decision trees, random forests, support vector machines, and neural networks.

Machine Learning drives innovation

Machine learning is rapidly changing the world. It allows computers to learn from data, automating tasks and providing new insights. This ongoing evolution will allow for more powerful applications of machine learning in different industries. As the field grows, knowledge of basic machine learning is becoming essential in modern business processes.