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AI for Dummies: A simple guide to understanding artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning

AI doesn't have to be daunting. This guide from HPE explains everything you need to know to fuel your business with cutting-edge cognitive technologies.

AIdummies2_blog.jpgYou may not realize it, but if you've asked Amazon's Alexa to play music today or Apple's Siri to call someone, you've just had an introduction to artificial intelligence, which is the ability for machines to perform human-like tasks. Utilizing HPE's quick, comprehensive AI for dummies guide can help you make sense of this technology, which is slowly changing work and home life and is poised to have a transformative impact on many industries.

This is not hype. IDC projects that global spending on AI and cognitive technologies will increase at a 54.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next few years, exceeding $46 billion by 2020, according to Deep Learning for Dummies. If you're still not sure whether you should explore AI, machine learning, and deep learning technologies, here are some of the basics to help you decide.

What "machine learning" means

Even if you're not thinking about using AI in your business just yet, it's a good idea to learn about it and its related technologies, machine learning and deep learning. At some point, you'll want to enhance your customer service processes or improve efficiencies to save your company time and money—and machine learning, a subset of AI, can help significantly.

Machine learning comes in when you want a system to do more than just mimic human behavior. It's an application of AI that gives systems the ability to automatically learn and make accurate predictions using data. For example, you can train a machine-learning system to decipher whether a piece of fruit is an apple or an orange based on a large number of images. The machine-learning system can make any necessary adjustments to its identification process automatically, without the help of a programmer.

Deep learning—a powerful technology

Machine learning is a powerful technology, but you'll want to use deep learning if you need to solve more complex problems. Deep learning works within deep neural networks modeled after the human brain. These networks can solve problems that can't otherwise be handled by machines. Neural networks have been around for a long time, but emerging advances in computational power and data-storage capabilities are allowing developers to leverage deep learning to create innovative new applications.

That said, deep learning isn't currently as mainstream as machine learning—but it has the potential to solve real-world problems. For example, there currently aren't enough radiologists in China to review 1.4 billion CT scans every year for signs of lung cancer, according to Forbes. In response, a company trained and taught algorithms to mimic the work of the radiologists in order to diagnose cancer more accurately and efficiently. With this system, a data scientist specifies the rules and data sets to be included in models, effectively telling the algorithms how to operate. The system then analyzes the raw data, draws inferences, and makes a prediction.

Explore, experiment, and expand

Now that you have an understanding about what AI, machine learning, and deep learning are, you're probably wondering how to get started with them. HPE uses a three-pronged approach to help navigate the journey: explore, experiment, and evolve.

The exploratory phase is just like it sounds: a chance to work with a knowledgeable, trusted adviser to determine what's possible and how AI could benefit your business. Then you can experiment with deep-learning applications using HPE's Centers of Excellence (CoE). IT departments and data scientists can utilize a CoE for help accelerating deep learning applications and figuring out how to get better ROI from their deployments. There are five of these centers spread around the globe.

You may also need help finding the right skills and optimizing your environment to handle AI. Critical for this technology are a platform and tools that will give you the right combination of central processing units (CPUs) and performance accelerators like graphics processing units (GPUs).

Once you've finished experimenting, it's time to test the waters and expand on what you've developed by learning about the additional services and opportunities AI offers. The building blocks to develop and train deep-learning systems are available within a number of frameworks. Each operates in different ways, and HPE can help you figure out which one is best suited to your needs.

Practical, exciting applications

One of the most important applications of deep learning is protecting people from fraud. When you get that scary call from your credit card company informing you that your card was used somewhere without your knowledge, that's deep learning in action—the ability to detect abnormal activity by understanding patterns of behavior. And there's more. AI-powered chatbots can also handle customer inquiries, and AI robots can fulfill customer orders.

You may have heard talk about AI and automation replacing humans. That may be a valid concern, but utilizing systems to perform tasks also frees people up to do work that's more mission critical.

Putting a high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure in place multiplies the possibilities for deploying AI applications. With HPC, you aggregate computing power to deliver more advanced applications quickly and reliably.

Analytics is another area where businesses can realize significant benefits. AI enables you to analyze data with better insights and also launch new business models. With the help of AI, professionals are analyzing data to make predictions in many areas, including healthcare diagnoses and treatment plans, supply chains, and even meteorology and air travel.

Data is the new currency, and deep-learning solutions enable you to crunch that data and leverage it to its fullest capabilities. When you do this, you'll find myriad benefits, from increasing revenue and enhancing customer service to improving operations and finding greater efficiencies.

A guide for your journey: AI for Dummies

HPE has several resources to help customers. Deep Learning for Dummies is a great place to start. And if you are already on the AI journey, see how HPE can add to your success with its numerous solutions. You shouldn't let AI overwhelm you—and you don't have to go it alone when it comes to leveraging the power of AI for your business.

Pankaj Goyal
Vice President, HPE AI Business
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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About the Author


Pankaj is building HPE’s Artificial Intelligence business. He is excited by the potential of AI to improve our lives, and believes HPE has a huge role to play. In his past life, he has been a computer science engineer, an entrepreneur, and a strategy consultant. Reach out to him to discuss everything AI @HPE.

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