Behind the buzz: What researchers should know about machine learning

Editor’s note: Kevin Gray is president of Cannon Gray LLC, a marketing science and analytics consultancy. He would like to thank Marco Vriens of Ipsos for his helpful comments on a draft of this article. Machine learning gets a lot of buzz these days, usually in connection with big data and artificial intelligence (AI). But what exactly is it? Broadly speaking, machine learners are computer algorithms designed for pattern recognition, curve fitting, classification and clustering. The word learning in the term stems from the ability to learn from data. Machine learning is also widely used in data mining and predictive analytics, which some commentators loosely call big data. It also is used for consumer survey analytics and is not restricted to high-volume, high-velocity data or unstructured data and need not…


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