Machine learning, along with artificial intelligence, is being used to disrupt many industries for the better. Whether we’re aware of it or not, the technology has been steadily growing over the last decade to become a major driving force behind some of the most advanced changes we’ve seen in several business sectors.
What Is Machine Learning?
By definition, machine learning is the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems can use to perform specific tasks. This is all done without needing explicit instructions as it relies on patterns and inference instead. Essentially, it means that computers are able to analyze large volumes of data before interpreting them into performable tasks. It’s also closely linked to artificial intelligence.
The impact of machine learning on businesses has been staggering. It has the potential to automate many aspects of the workplace. This means it can effectively completely change the way a business operates at its core. Previously, ‘robots’ in the work environment referred to automated self-scan checkouts in retail. Now, technology can delve much deeper than simple pre-programmed automation. For example, in large warehouses, computers are being used to pick a stock. They’re super-quick and far more efficient than any human worker could be. So, what other industries are poised to benefit from this outstanding technology?
What Business Sectors Could Feel The Benefits?
Pressure on schools and more important teachers has become somewhat of a hot topic in recent years. Machine learning can help the education industry by alleviating the teachers of menial tasks, meaning they can concentrate more on the quality of learning they are providing students. Computers are capable of creating their own algorithms to create lesson plans or even grade papers. It could be used to establish study plans catered to each child’s specific needs.
Law firms could also benefit from the introduction of machine learning as it can greatly help with data processing. The majority of settlement agreement solicitors work relies on sifting through huge mounds of paperwork. A computer can potentially save legal team hours of work, much like the education sector.
In terms of everyday use, retail stands to gain the most from machine learning technology. As we’ve seen, supermarkets have already taken advantage of computer-assisted self-checkouts. However, machine learning can also help when it comes to customer service. Online chatbots can provide a higher level of customer service as they can collect vast amounts of data and interpret it for future interactions with customers.
Self-driving cars are quickly becoming a reality. In fact, they’ve already been tested in the States and China. The idea is the make the roads safer for everyone by preventing dangerous driving. Though the USA is focusing on driverless cars, China has set its sights on driverless buses. These small minibusses won’t need a driver, though they’ll still require an employee on board who can steer the bus in case of emergencies.
Perhaps one of the most important industries who may benefit from the technology in healthcare. It’s already been used to help with diagnosis, prescriptions, and treatment. This can provide more accurate, reliable results for the surgeon to analyze. What’s more, in future it’s thought that machine learning will be able to detect tumors and scan the skin for mole cancer. Essentially, machine learning can help to save lives.
Paul Matthews is a Manchester based business and tech writer who writes in order to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business. You can usually find him at the local library or browsing Forbes’ latest pieces.