Real or virtual? The two faces of machine learning

There’s a lot of sci-fi-level buzz lately about smart machines and software bots that will use big data and the Internet of things to become autonomous actors, such as to schedule your personal tasks, drive your car or a delivery truck, manage your finances, ensure compliance with and adjust your medical activities, build and perhaps even design cars and smartphones, and of course connect you to the products and services that it decides you should use.

That’s Silicon Valley’s path for artificial intelligence/machine learning, predictive analytics, big data, and the Internet of things. But there’s another path that gets much less attention: the real world. It too uses AI, analytics, big data, and the Internet of things (aka the industrial Internet in this context), though not in the same manner. Whether you’re looking to choose a next-frontier career path or simply understand what’s going on in technology, it’s important to note the differences.

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