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It may sound like science fiction, but computers can now teach themselves, and machines’ capabilities are beginning to surpass human potential. The age of “machine learning” will present a wealth of opportunities but, says data scientist Jeremy Howard, the change will be enormously disruptive. His bountiful examples reveal that the machine-learning revolution is nigh. getAbstract suggests Howard’s fascinating though discomfiting oration to futurists, as well as to corporate leaders and social policy makers who wish to remain one step ahead of the game.


Programming a computer to execute a task used to require writing code that told the machine in minute detail what to do at each step, and you couldn’t develop a machine to do something you didn’t know how to do yourself. But in 1956, IT engineer Arthur Samuel “taught” a computer to win at checkers by programming it to play against itself. In this way, the computer mastered the game and even beat the Connecticut state-level checkers champion in 1962. Samuel had invented “machine learning.” Today, Google’s search algorithm is the most famous example of machine learning. Amazon uses a machine...

About the Speaker

Data scientist Jeremy Howard is CEO of Enlitic, a machine-learning company.

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