Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and all relevant keywords have been leading the headlines lately and for good reason. This new field has already transformed industries across the globe, and companies are racing to understand how to integrate this emerging technology: If we had an AI ready to give answers, what would we ask? And if we can think of a question, is it valid for an AI?

Introduction

First things first, let’s initially see how Data Analytics lead to Machine Learning scenarios, and then check ML.NET, Microsoft’s solution for everyone but especially for #ASPNET developers.

Step 1, What is Data Analytics

Through data mining and various other technics, vast quantities of -sometimes- unstructured data are collected. The analysis of those for commonalities (such as averages, ratios, known math graphs, etc.) is presented through aggregations on a dashboard, and humans are responsible of making assumptions and predicting the future.

Step 2, What is Predictive Analytics

Through the analysis done in the previous step, we naturally end up predicting what will come tomorrow. Predictions are based on historical repeated data and humans are called to identify those patterns in the data, in advanced scenarios write the math equations that represent this pattern, verify them, test them, adjust them and finally apply that hard-earned logic to new unknown data and predict the results.

Step 3, What is Machine Learning

Machine learning could be explained as a predictive analysis process with one key difference. A machine and not a human is making the assumptions, the tests and the adjustments in order to finally learn how to predict results. Why is this better? Because a machine can study millions of different datasets that contain millions of theoretically unlinked data in ways and speeds that are foreign to human nature. Through this study it can discover connections that “shouldn’t be possible” and give solutions when functions are unknown or too complex to discover.

The simplest way that I can think of to explain the difference between predictive analytics and machine learning solutions, could be expressed somehow mathematically:

``````A function f is applied to x and transforms it to y: f(x)=y
If we know f and x but not y, it is not a machine learning problem.
If we know x and partially y but not f, then it is a machine learning problem.
``````

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