8 Industries Where Machine Learning Has Made a Positive Impact

As you read the heading for this article, you are probably wondering if there is any remaining industry that machine learning (ML) has left untouched. ML has made its way into every industry you can think of, helping companies save on costs and improve labor productivity.

For the uninformed, ML is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on integrating self-learning algorithms into computers. This type of AI does not have to be programmed and can evolve on its own by analyzing input and output data.

To get you up to speed, below are some real-life examples of how ML is revolutionizing the world’s top industries.

Industry #1: Manufacturing

ML reduces defect rates by up to 90% in manufacturing test environments. In steel manufacturing, for example, the technology enables manufacturers to detect product defects early on in the production line.

When output anomalies occur, process experts are usually called in to investigate. Researchers discovered that by applying supervised learning techniques, ML algorithms could effectively spot potential problems. They also see future applications of the technology to process optimization and predictive maintenance.

Industry #2: Travel

Another industry that ML is shaking is travel. More and more travel companies today are using neural conversational chatbots to improve customer service and upskill staff.

Kayak, for instance, uses a chatbot to provide customers with real-time information on flight schedules and rental car availability. Also, the chatbot can suggest an itinerary for travelers. Another chatbot called “Lola,” meanwhile, provides trip-planning assistance to travel agents.

Industry #3: Art

Although it may initially seem unlikely, ML is taking the art world by storm. From art installations to mobile apps, it is interesting to note how the technology is paving the way for innovations in the space.

One example is Google’s educational museum app, Arts & Culture. With ML, the app matches a user’s chosen selfie with a lookalike in any museum’s art collection. It helps promote art appreciation, too, by giving users a personalized experience when discovering new works.

ML has also been used to trigger specific actions in art installations, such as in Philip Beesley’s Astrocyte. Beesley’s work features an architectural structure that responds to viewers’ reactions and movements with light, sound, and vibration.

Industry #4: Education

ML is transforming many facets of education more than you can imagine too. According to Jack Buckley, president and chief scientist at Imbellus, ML and AI specifically impact three areas—personalization, predictive analytics, and educational assessment.

Citing several examples, Buckley explained that ML applications help teachers personalize learning experiences for students, especially for those who have a hard time in class. ML can also be used to design “fair” testing forms that do not put some test takers at a disadvantage.

Industry #5: Oil and Gas

ML helps oil and gas operators to increase efficiency and workforce safety. It allows rig technicians to control drill bits based on interpreted data accurately. Using GE Digital’s Predix software, Uruguay-owned fuel company Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland (ANCAP) was able to lessen byproducts by 20% and lessen the amount of time employees dedicate to doing routine work by 60%.

Controversial oil company BP also uses an AI-powered cloud-based geoscience platform called “Sandy” to support its processes. Sandy enables BP engineers to map its mission-critical subsurface infrastructures based on historical and real-time geologic, geophysics, and reservoir project data.

Industry #6: Finance

The world of finance is an ideal market for ML. Number crunchers, from bankers to day traders, need all the help they can get to dig deep into tons of financial data.

In stock trading, technical analysts can rely on ML software to interpret historical price movements, share volumes, trends, and trade signals. Meanwhile, in banking, ML models are being incorporated into data-driven tools to make credit- and loan-related decisions.

Industry #7: Insurance

Another industry that ML is transforming is insurance. According to Emerj AI Research, leading insurance companies are exploring ML to guide their customer service efforts and enhance their product and business development strategies. The apps they use feature capabilities that simplify damage assessment, driver behavior management, and insurance selling.

Industry #8: Marketing

The field of marketing is no stranger to using data analytics software, and ML is taking things up a notch. Business leaders believe that the technology is most beneficial to customer service, new product development, and personalization.

A great case study for ML applications in marketing was Ben & Jerry’s data discovery campaign. The company used the technology to mine and analyze huge chunks of unstructured data.

Ben & Jerry’s used ML to look into social media and websites to discover patterns. For instance, one interesting pattern that its platform found was the frequent mention of the phrase “ice cream for breakfast” in songs. Insights from this data-mining initiative inspired Ben & Jerry’s to create its line of breakfast-themed ice cream flavors, which include Fruit Loot, Frozen Flakes, and Cocoa Loco.

Indeed, there is no stopping ML’s progress. As welcome developments unfold, let us hope that the technology will continue to benefit more industries.

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