Quora: Look for Machine Learning Tools in Everyday Products

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Users may not realize it, but Google Search is among the products that utilize machine learning algorithms. Reuters

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Answer from Håkon Hapnes Strand, Machine Learning Engineer:

Machine learning (ML) services will soon go into stealth mode.

Today, there is an abundance of startups that use ML to do this, and artificial intelligence to do that. Many tech startups love to talk about how they’re doing things instead of what they’re actually doing. If someone is using ML to do anything, you can be sure that it’ll be the first thing they broadcast to everyone they encounter.

Right now, there is such a buzz around ML that this marketing strategy kind of works. Enterprise customers are often hypnotized by buzzwords, but users only care about functionality.

The big winners are the companies that silently embed ML into their products. Think Google Search. We all use it, but most people have no idea what’s going on under the hood. Nor do they care. I think this is the future of how users will interact with ML algorithms.

Eventually, most industries will come to the realization that ML is simply a tool, not a product in itself. This sounds like bad news for us that are into ML, but I think most people will also realize that it can be a very useful tool.

Today, you find three kinds of people:

  • ML engineers/data people: We know the advantages and limitations of ML.
  • ML believers: They think ML is a magical trick that can do anything.
  • ML skeptics: They think it doesn’t work and it’s all a sham.

I think the last two groups will start to merge into more realistic assumptions about what ML can and can’t achieve. This leads to my next prediction:

Machine learning will be embedded into products in many more industries.

The average person is already interacting with ML algorithms many times a day without realizing it (Google Search page rank, Amazon and Netflix recommendations, Gmail spam detection etc.)

This will multiply. ML will no longer be limited to the websites of large internet companies, but enter our daily lives through the Internet of Things. Whenever you drive your car, go to the store, use your microwave oven or anything that’s remotely technological, you will be interacting with an abundance of ML algorithms everywhere, and you won’t even know it.

How will the way users interact with machine learning algorithms change over the next few years? originally appeared on Quora—the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: