Though it may be in its infancy, machine learning has already begun to disrupt many major industries. Underneath the umbrella term of artificial intelligence, this growing technology has been a driving force behind many developments across different industries. However, there are still many business sectors yet to utilize its full potential.
At its core, machine learning uses computers to create algorithms. It can be applied to a number of fields to assist employees. What’s more, the computer doesn’t require specific instructions in order to carry out the tasks. Instead, it relies on patterns and inference. By doing this, computers can analyze large volumes of data and interpret them into performable tasks.
The idea of robots being able to help out in the classroom is quickly becoming a reality. Maybe not as extreme as we had first initially thought, though. Introducing machine learning into schools could have a major impact on the education sector's overall performance. In recent years, there has been some criticism of the sector regarding poorer quality teaching due to lack of government funding. This has resulted in general dissatisfaction of the education industry as a whole.
Machine learning can alleviate the pressures felt by teachers every day. For one, it can take over the more menial tasks such as marking exam papers, compiling assignments and generating tests. A computer can use an algorithm to crawl through thousands of questions to pick the very best questions for an exam. What’s more, it can even build a study programme that’s tailored to each student’s needs. This will free up time for the teachers to focus on the students.
Law is one industry that perhaps stands to benefit the most from adopting machine learning technology. Legal firms are able to use it mainly for data processing. This could help them tremendously in their busiest periods such as processing commercial bridge loans documents for real estate or searching through important documents to assess any faults.
However, law, much like education, still requires human reasoning. This is where machine learning simply cannot compete with human employees. Therefore, computers can only aid law firms, not complete their tasks entirely.
For software development, machine learning can transform the entire workflow. It is already being used to help modify apps to improve the user experience. The combination of machine learning skills, such as natural language processing and deep learning, can assist developers in building better software faster.
In time, it’s possible that all software will be developed with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It can make apps, games and other programmes more accurate and user-friendly. It has already been suggested that machine learning will greatly improve customer service – more on this when we discuss retail.
From buses and cars to ships and airplanes, the transport industry will undoubtedly be impacted by machine learning – even more than it already is. From what we have seen, self-driving cars are being trialed in the U.S. to combat the number of deaths from reckless driving. Though no self-driving cars have been deemed road safe enough to drive, they are getting incredibly close.
As for self-driving ships, a collaboration between Rolls Royce and Google is bringing the possibility forward. They’re working together to create a ship that has the ability to be controlled autonomously. The ship will need to be advanced enough to take on the tasks of around a crew of 20 employees. Currently, they’re projecting that the ship will be able to set sail as early as 2020.
Warehouse management can be improved enormously with the help of machine learning. For industrial businesses and warehouses, the level of efficiency can increase tenfold. Computers can bring automation to warehouses so robots are able to pick goods ready to send out to customers. Each robot can carry up to 500 kilograms. They also have special sensors that prevent them from colliding with one another.
At present, in some warehouses, these robots can do up to 70 percent of the work. With further developments in machine learning, there’s the potential for it to be completely automated. It means that they would be better equipped to deal with busier periods of the year, such as Christmas time.
As far as connecting with the general public, machine learning is generally limited. It’s often used behind the scenes to help improve efficiency and productivity. One of the few industries it breaks through that barrier is in retail. Supermarkets and other shops have already adopted self-service checkouts and smart-scan devices. Not only has this helped with the workload for employees, but it’s also allowed for a faster shopping experience.
In the future, it’s predicted that machine learning will greatly improve customer service thanks to online chatbots. They can increase the amount of data collected about each customer, including their mood, emotions and thoughts towards the store. This will allow the store to continue to improve their services.
Paul Matthews is a U.K.-based business and tech writer who writes in order to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.