AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning: A Beginner's Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


  1. What is Artificial Intelligence?
  2. History of Artificial Intelligence
  3. What is Machine Learning?
  4. Types of Machine Learning
  5. Applications of Machine Learning
  6. What is Deep Learning?
  7. How does Deep Learning work?
  8. Differences between AI, ML, and DL
  9. Why AI, ML, and DL matter
  10. Next steps in learning about AI, ML, and DL

Welcome to your beginner's differentiation guide to AI, machine learning, and deep learning. This guide will help you grasp these fascinating topics, which are transforming our world right before our eyes. We'll tour the history of these fields, explore how they work, and see why they matter. So, let's get started, shall we?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

At its core, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all about creating machines that mimic human intelligence. It's about making computers think and learn like us. Sounds like science fiction, right? But it's not. AI is already here, and it's making a big splash.

For starters, AI is the general field that covers everything related to imbuing machines with intelligence. It's like an umbrella, under which machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) exist. The idea is to create systems that can perform tasks that would usually require human intelligence. These tasks can range from recognizing speech, identifying images, making decisions, or even translating languages.

Now, here's the cool part. AI systems aren't just programmed to do a task—they're built to think and learn. Let's imagine you're teaching a kid to recognize a cat. You don't hard-code the child's brain with rules like "cats have pointy ears" or "cats say meow." Instead, you show the child lots of pictures of cats. Over time, the child starts to understand what a cat is. That's how AI learns too. You feed it data, and it figures things out. It's a bit like magic, but with a whole lot of math and computer science thrown in.

So, to sum it up: AI is all about creating smart machines that can learn and grow. It's a vital part of our "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide" journey. And trust me, it's only going to get more exciting from here.

History of Artificial Intelligence

Now that we've covered the basics of what AI is, let's take a step back in time and see where it all began. The history of AI is a thrilling ride—a journey of ups, downs, breakthroughs, and surprises.

The whole idea of AI—machines that could think—has been around for centuries. But the actual term "Artificial Intelligence" was coined back in 1956 at a conference at Dartmouth College. Some of the brightest minds in the field gathered there, full of optimism, and predicted that they could make machines as intelligent as humans in a single generation. Well, it turned out to be a bit harder than they thought!

In the 1960s and 70s, AI researchers made some impressive strides. They built programs that could solve algebra problems, understand natural language, and even play chess. But by the 1980s, the initial excitement about AI had cooled down. The problems were harder, the solutions were trickier, and the funding was drying up.

But then came the 1990s, and things started looking up again. The rise of the internet resulted in an explosion of data—an ideal playground for AI. Researchers made huge leaps in machine learning, a subset of AI that we'll dig into next. By the 2000s, AI was well and truly back in the game. It was popping up in everything from search engines to email filters.

Fast forward to today, and AI is everywhere. It's in your phone, your car, your home, and probably a dozen other places you don't even realize. But remember, this is just a quick tour of the history of AI. There's a lot more to discover, so keep digging and keep learning!

Now, let's move on to the next part of our "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide"—machine learning.

What is Machine Learning?

Picture this: you're at a party, and someone brings up the topic of machine learning. What would you say? If you're drawing a blank, don't worry. By the end of this section, you'll have a solid understanding of what machine learning is all about.

Machine learning, often shortened to ML, is a subset of artificial intelligence. In a nutshell, it's all about teaching computers to learn from data and make decisions or predictions. Instead of programming a computer with specific instructions to complete a task, you feed it a bunch of data and let it learn the patterns and relationships in that data.

Think of it like this: if AI is a high school, then machine learning is a specific class within that high school. It's a part of AI, but it's not the whole picture.

Let's bring it to life with an example. Imagine you're trying to build a system that can identify photos of cats. Instead of writing a set of rules like "look for pointy ears", "look for whiskers", etc., you would use machine learning. You'd feed the computer thousands of pictures—some of cats and some of not-cats—and let it figure out the patterns that distinguish a cat from a not-cat.

That's machine learning in a nutshell. But remember, it's just one part of the "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide" trifecta. Up next, we'll dive into the different types of machine learning, so stick around!

Types of Machine Learning

Now that we've dipped our toes into the world of machine learning, it's time to wade a little deeper. There are three main types of machine learning: supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. You can think of them as different tools in the machine learning toolbox. Each one has its own strengths and ideal use cases.

Supervised Learning: This is a bit like having a teacher looking over your shoulder while you learn. You feed the computer a bunch of examples that are labeled with the right answer. Going back to our cat example from earlier, you'd give the computer a bunch of photos, each one labeled as either "cat" or "not-cat". The computer uses these labeled examples to learn the patterns that predict the right answer.

Unsupervised Learning: In contrast, unsupervised learning is like learning without a teacher. You feed the computer a bunch of data without any labels, and it tries to find patterns or structure in that data. It's a bit like handing someone a jigsaw puzzle without showing them the picture on the box. Unsupervised learning is great for exploratory analysis or when you're not quite sure what you're looking for.

Reinforcement Learning: This type of machine learning is a bit different. It's like training a dog with treats. The computer gets to interact with an environment and gets rewards or penalties for the actions it takes. It learns by trial and error what sequence of actions leads to the best reward. Reinforcement learning is often used in robotics, gaming, and navigation.

That's a quick tour of the main types of machine learning. Keeping these in mind can help you navigate the rest of the "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide". But we're not finished yet—there's still plenty more to explore!

Applications of Machine Learning

Machine learning isn't just a neat trick. It's a powerful tool that's being used to solve real-world problems right now. Let's look at a few applications of machine learning that might surprise you:

Healthcare: Machine learning is helping doctors diagnose diseases and predict health issues before they become serious. For example, algorithms can learn to identify signs of cancer in medical images or predict the likelihood of a patient having a heart attack within the next year based on their medical history.

Finance: In the world of finance, machine learning algorithms help detect fraudulent transactions, predict stock market trends, and provide personalized financial advice. It's like having a super-powered accountant in your pocket.

Entertainment: Ever wonder how Netflix knows what show to recommend next? That's machine learning in action! Algorithms analyze your viewing history and preferences to suggest shows and movies you're likely to enjoy.

Transportation: From self-driving cars to smart traffic management systems, machine learning is revolutionizing the way we get from A to B. It's making our roads safer, our journeys quicker, and our carbon footprints smaller.

These are just a few examples. Machine learning is being used in countless other fields, from agriculture to zoology. As you continue your journey through the "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide", you'll discover more and more ways in which these technologies are changing the world.

What is Deep Learning?

Now that we've dipped our toes into the world of machine learning, let's dive a little deeper into a specific branch of it—deep learning. If machine learning is a rocket ship, think of deep learning as the control system that guides it to the right destination.

Deep learning is a type of machine learning that uses something called neural networks. Now, don't let the fancy term scare you. When we say "neural networks", we're talking about computer systems that mimic the human brain's structure. Just as our brain uses neurons to process and learn from information, a neural network uses nodes.

The "deep" in deep learning refers to the many layers of these nodes in the network. The more layers, the deeper the learning. Each layer learns something different from the data it processes. For example, when a deep learning network looks at a picture of a cat, the first layer might recognize the basic shapes, the next layer might recognize the textures, and so on, until the final layer recognizes that it's looking at a cat.

What makes deep learning special is that it can learn directly from data, without needing humans to tell it what to look for. This makes it great at handling large volumes of data and complex tasks—like driving a car, translating languages, or playing chess. So, as you explore this "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide", remember: deep learning is all about learning from data, just like we do.

How does Deep Learning work?

Imagine trying to learn a new language—say, French. You don't just memorize a dictionary and voilà! You're fluent. Nope, your brain learns bit by bit. First, you grasp the basic words, then sentences, then grammar rules, and so on. This layered approach to learning is the heart of deep learning.

A deep learning model works quite similarly. It uses layers of nodes or "neurons"—each layer learning a little more about the data than the previous one. It's like each layer is a student in a class. The first student (or layer) passes what they've learned to the next, who adds a bit more knowledge, and this goes on until the last student understands the whole concept.

For example, if a deep learning model is learning from a photo of a bike, the first layer might identify the edges or colors. The second layer might recognize shapes like circles or triangles. By the time you get to the final layer, it's learned enough to say, "Hey, that's a bike!"

But how does a layer 'learn'? Well, it uses a set of weights (or importance) for each piece of data it processes. The right weights can make the difference between the model recognizing a bike or mistaking it for a motorcycle. The process of adjusting these weights to improve accuracy is called "training" the model.

As you can see, deep learning is a fascinating part of our "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide". It's like a classroom inside your computer, tirelessly learning and getting smarter every day. Pretty cool, huh?

Differences between AI, ML, and DL

So, we've chatted about AI, machine learning, and deep learning individually. Now, you might be wondering how they differ from each other. Let's break it down in our "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide".

Think of AI as the granddaddy of them all. It's the broad idea of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we humans would consider "smart". AI is like a big, fancy toolbox that contains all sorts of tools for making machines intelligent.

Now, one of those tools in the AI toolbox is machine learning. ML is a method of achieving AI. It's like teaching a machine to fish. Instead of programming a machine with specific instructions for every task, you give it a fishing rod (an algorithm), and it learns how to fish (find patterns) on its own.

Deep learning, then, is a specific type of machine learning. It's like teaching a machine not just to fish, but to recognize every type of fish and know the best time to fish. It uses a layered structure of algorithms (neural networks) to dig deep into data and learn from it.

So, if AI is a toolbox, machine learning is a fishing rod inside that toolbox, and deep learning is a fancy, high-tech fishing rod with all the bells and whistles. Each one is a piece of the puzzle in the grand scheme of artificial intelligence. Together, they're creating machines that can learn and think—a little like us!

Why AI, ML, and DL matter

Alright, so we've sorted out AI, machine learning, and deep learning. But you might still be wondering, "Why should I care?" Well, let's dive into that in our "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide".

First up, AI. AI is changing the world as we know it. It's like a new kind of electricity—it's powering everything. From your smartphone's voice assistant to self-driving cars, AI is making our lives easier and more efficient. It's changing industries, creating jobs, and even helping solve some of the world's biggest problems. So yeah, it's kind of a big deal.

Next, machine learning. ML is like the brain of AI. It's what makes AI possible. With ML, machines can learn, adapt, and even improve over time. That's right, machines that get better at their jobs the more they do them. Think about that for a second. It's like having a super-employee who never gets tired and always gets better. Pretty cool, right?

Lastly, deep learning. This is the cutting edge of AI. It's what's powering some of the most exciting advancements in technology. Things like facial recognition, language translation, and even medical diagnoses. It's like having a super-smart scientist who can sift through mountains of data and find patterns that we humans might miss. The potential here is mind-blowing.

So, in a nutshell, AI, ML, and DL matter because they're changing the world. They're improving our lives, creating new opportunities, and solving big problems. They're not just buzzwords—they're the future. And the future is pretty exciting, don't you think?

Next steps in learning about AI, ML, and DL

Now that you've dipped your toes in the waters of AI, machine learning, and deep learning, you may be wondering, "What's next?" In our "ai, machine learning, deep learning: a beginner's differentiation guide", we've got a few suggestions for you.

Firstly, read widely. There are tons of great resources out there. From books like "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig, to online platforms like Coursera and Udacity that offer courses on AI, ML, and DL. There's no shortage of knowledge—you just need to reach out and grab it!

Secondly, experiment. There's no better way to learn than by doing. Try building your own simple AI. Use machine learning algorithms to analyze data. The more you practice, the more you'll understand.

Lastly, connect with others. Join online communities, attend seminars, participate in hackathons. Learning is always better—and more fun—when you're part of a community. So, why not make some friends while you're at it?

In conclusion, the world of AI, ML, and DL is vast and fascinating. And the best part? You're just getting started. So keep learning, keep exploring, and who knows? Maybe one day, you'll be the one leading the AI revolution!

If you're intrigued by the world of AI, machine learning, and deep learning, and want to expand your knowledge further, be sure to check out the workshop 'Midjourney AI: Beginners Crash Course' by Ansh Mehra. This workshop is tailored for beginners, giving you the perfect foundation to start your journey into the fascinating world of artificial intelligence.