Machine Learning is Pattern Matching For Things That Matter to Humans

ai ml

If you’re reading this you’ve probably heard many explanations of AI and ML. Some good. Some bad. You’ve probably understood them all, but found them somewhat…unsatisfying.

It’s like they almost capture it, but not quite.

I think I have an explanation that will make it permanently click—like understanding detonating in your mind.

You can also call this AI because AI is the parent of ML.

Machine Learning is a way to pattern-match for the most important questions in human life.

Think of the important questions to humans—from 1,000 years ago, a decade ago, from yesterday, or for 2073. The questions always revolve around the same topics: Safety. Security. Business. Protection. Relationships. Danger. Love.

This is what movies are about. This is what wars are fought over. These are the most important things to humans, and much of the business world is based on answering questions related to these topics.

Here are some examples:

  • Is he carrying a weapon?

  • Am I in danger right now?

  • Is this true love?

  • Is this mole cancerous?

  • Is this person lying to me?

  • What emotion is this person feeling?

  • Should I hire this person?

  • Is this transaction fraudulent?

  • What is the perfect song to play in this situation?

  • What should I say to make him fall in love with me?

  • Is this my kid?

  • Is this customer angry?

  • Is this an attack on my computer network?

  • Is this a good business deal?

  • Should I date this person?

  • What kind of illness does she have?

  • Is this a solid legal contract?

  • Did that customer have a good experience?

  • Has this account been hacked?

  • Should I buy this house?

  • Will this person buy from us again?

  • Will it rain in the next week?

  • Did she cheat on me?

  • Is that a star or a dangerous asteroid?

Traditionally we have relied on elders and experts for these answers. Not only was a human required, but it had to be our best humans. The wisest. The most educated. Those with the most experience.

That’s why Machine Learning is so important. That’s why you see so many AI startups. That’s why companies are investing in it so heavily.

It’s because ML has finally made it possible for machines to answer these questions. And to answer them better—and faster—than any human. At scale.

When you think of ML, don’t think about tech. That doesn’t begin to capture its importance. Think about humans, and eternal human questions.

Machine Learning is important because it’s addressing those questions in a way that humans have never been able to.


  1. I recommend my other post about a similar topic related to ML. More