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Deep Learning: The Future

Nikhil George Savio14 Mar 2019

Artificial Intelligence is the electricity of the future - Andrew Ng When Andrew Ng said this, he wasn’t talking about basic AI in its fetal stage, he was talking about deep learning based AI. Deep learning also known as hierarchical learning) is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on learning data representations, as opposed to task-specific algorithms. Deep learning is one of the foundations of artificial intelligence (AI), and the current interest in deep learning is due in part to the buzz surrounding AI.

Deep learning techniques have improved the ability to classify, recognize, detect and describe ñ in one word, understand. Learning can be supervised, semi-supervised or unsupervised. Deep learning changes how you think about representing the problems that you’re solving with analytics. It moves from telling the computer how to solve a problem to training the computer to solve the problem itself.

For example, deep learning is used to classify images, recognize speech, detect objects and describe content. Systems such as Siri and Cortana are powered, in part, by deep learning. Several developments are now advancing in deep learning:

  • Algorithmic improvements have boosted the performance of deep learning methods.
  • New machine learning approaches have improved accuracy of models.
  • New classes of neural networks have been developed that fit well for applications like text translation and image classification.
  • We have a lot more data available to build neural networks with many deep layers, including streaming data from the Internet of Things, textual data from social media, physicians notes and investigative transcripts.
  • Computational advances of distributed cloud computing and graphics processing units have put incredible computing power at our disposal. This level of computing power is necessary to train deep algorithms. At the same time, human-to-machine interfaces have evolved greatly as well. The mouse and the keyboard are being replaced with gesture, swipe, touch and natural language, ushering in a renewed interest in AI and deep learning.

How deep learning works?

A traditional approach to analytics is to use the data at hand to engineer features to derive new variables, then select an analytic model and finally estimate the parameters (or the unknowns) of that model. These techniques can yield predictive systems that do not generalize well because completeness and correctness depend on the quality of the model and its features. For example, if you develop a fraud model with feature engineering, you start with a set of variables, and you most likely derive a model from those variables using data transformations. You may end up with 30,000 variables that your model depends on, then you have to shape the model, figure out which variables are meaningful, which ones are not, and so on. Adding more data requires you to do it all over again. The new approach with deep learning is to replace the formulation and specification of the model with hierarchical characterizations (or layers) that learn to recognize latent features of the data from the regularities in the layers. The paradigm shift with deep learning is a move from feature engineering to feature representation. The promise of deep learning is that it can lead to predictive systems that generalize well, adapt well, continuously improve as new data arrives, and are more dynamic than predictive systems built on hard business rules. You no longer fit a model. Instead, you train the task. Deep learning is still a mystery that could quite possibly unravel the deepest secrets of next generation AI but as for now one could only see its use limited to that which meets the eye.