Machine Learning Is Taking Over Our Lives — For the Better

April 17, 2018 • Shannon Flynn


There was a time when machine learning — a sub-area of artificial intelligence involving algorithms that process data and learn similarly to the human brain — seemed like little more than a far-fetched idea. Now, it’s working its way into nearly every aspect of our lives. As a result of its rise, some people have brought up concerns that it could ruin the way we live. For numerous reasons, though, it’s improving them instead.

Helping Google Have More Efficient Operations

One of Google’s goals is to make the world’s information more accessible, but it doesn’t stop there. The company also wants to achieve that aim without wasting resources. Google saw a 40 percent reduction in energy after using machine learning in its data centers during a trial.

Google seeks to go beyond data center efficiency, too. It plans to use machine learning to cut down on waste in the company’s 1,200 eateries for its employees. It’ll do that with intelligent scales fitted with cameras that determine the exact amount of wasted food and figure out its origin.

Equipping Doctors to Do Their Jobs Better

There are also applications for this technology in the health sector. Physicians use it to analyze details about their patients and reach more-informed conclusions about their diagnoses. Some efforts focus on combing through past data and pinpointing what worked best for individuals with similar health issues before.

Outside of patient care, people are hopeful about using this emerging tech to collect data from population groups with particular characteristics. This could drive research efforts that may eventually lead to breakthroughs including the eradication of diseases.

The capabilities of some platforms enhance patient empowerment by equipping them to better manage their conditions outside of doctor visits. There is software that employs facial recognition and other ways of assessing a person’s well-being and delivers insights to help them stay healthier than they otherwise could.

As technologies evolve, they’ll be even more prominent in the health industry, accomplishing things humans can’t do on their own. It will streamline research efforts, too.

Enhancing Customer Experiences and Business Practices

One of the substantial benefits of being able to process data with algorithms that learn over time is that they make it possible for customers — whether they shop in physical stores or online — to get their needs met as much as possible, which keeps them coming back.

Companies measure which aspects are most likely to frustrate people, and then target those areas to make them better. Similarly, algorithms draw attention to individuals who are most likely to leave for good, allowing humans to intervene and try to make things right before they do.

Because there are ways to gather data about what customers do when they shop, businesses can provide them with personalized offers, exclusive sales and more. In the future, expect fewer marketing tactics that make people think, “This doesn’t apply to me,” and more instances where they say, “Wow, this company genuinely understands me and what I like to buy.”

Businesses depend on technology in other ways too, such as to speed up informed decision making and make accounting necessities less cumbersome. Therefore, technology collectively improves the ways companies work, which has positive effects on the bottom line, the productivity of employees and the satisfaction levels of customers.

Finding the Best People for Available Positions

Human resources specialists know that locating top-notch candidates for the positions they need to fill isn’t always easy, especially when the most in-demand openings attract hundreds of people. Fortunately, intelligent algorithm-based technologies are simplifying the process and helping job seekers and managers alike.

The reduction of human biases due to increased reliance on technology means recruiters have higher likelihoods of diversifying their respective personnel makeups. Plus, because today’s smart platforms work so quickly, the amount of time that passes between when a person puts in his or her application and hears about the status of a position goes down.

High-tech platforms highlight the people who are most appropriate for positions based on factors such as their skills, experience and education. Some of them also nudge individuals looking for jobs and give them notifications about work opportunities that closely match their preferences.

In many cases, the applications examine characteristics that indicate whether a person aligns with a company’s culture. So, the companies of the future could see lower turnover rates and reduced instances of workplace drama perpetuated by those who consider themselves outliers in an organization.

New Possibilities

This is only a sampling of how examining data with algorithms that gradually get smarter will positively shape our lives. It’ll open up possibilities the human race hadn’t even thought of in past generations.