Jargon little helper: Artificial Intelligence ≠ Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most overhyped technologies today. From narrow AI technologies such as Apple’s Siri to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) examples in films such as Ex-Machina or Her.

An interesting pattern can be recognised every time a new technology becomes hot and sexy. The so-called expert. We’ve all been in that situation before. Sitting in the same room and listening to the wrong terminology just to unveil the true self. Actually, this is quite helpful as we can better evaluate what’s being said for what is worth. #AlwaysThinkPositive

Here some examples:

  • A few years ago, in the AdTech world… Real Time Bidding (RTB) ≠ Programmatic
  • More recently… Blockchain ≠ Bitcoin (Link to my previous post)
  • Artificial Intelligence ≠ Machine Learning

AI is basically the intelligence – how we make machines intelligent, while machine learning is the implementation of the compute methods that support it. The way I think of it is: AI is the science and machine learning is the algorithms that make the machines smarter. …So the enabler for AI is machine learning. Nidhi Cappell, Head of machine learning at Intel

AI Today

Regardless of all the hype, some great movies and famous Skynet-like worries, the truth is, we are still in 2017 and what is proving to be most practical today is the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence. This is how IBM’s Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov a decade ago and, more recently, how Google’s AlphaGo became the best ever Go player.

This approach makes a lot of sense when you realise that we still don’t really understand how human intelligence and creativity actually work and therefore is practically impossible to train a machine to achieve that result. Narrow AIs are of great help with mundane tasks and they excel humans on those narrow scenarios:

  • Your good old pocket calculator
  • Your chess app today is more powerful than Deep Blue ever was. Yes
  • Self-driving cars
  • etc, etc

Experts like Kevin Kelly and Sam Harris agree on this so… the dystopian sci-fi future that some fear is probably decades away. Examples of Human-assisted Artificial Intelligence are:

  • Machines beating humans at calculus-based games, as mentioned above
  • Image recognition for medical diagnosis – link
  • Customer service chatbots – link

People don’t like change and embracing the 4th Industrial revolution will be a slow process. Our jobs are not going away anytime soon… unless they require little intelligence 🤓

As one of my idols put it many years ago:

‘Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.’ – Pablo Picasso

Check the links below if you are interested in this topic, they are real experts 🙃


  •  Deep thinking: Where machine intelligence ends and human creativity begins, Garry Kasparov, 2017 – Link
  • The Singularity is near, Raymond Kurzweil, 2006 – Link


  • Waking up podcast by Sam Harris – Landscapes of mind with Kevin Kelly, 2017 – Link
  • Conversations with Tyler – Garry Kasparov on AI, Chess, and the future of creativity – Link


  • Andrew Ng: Artificial Intelligence is the new electricity, Stanford MSx Future Forum, 2017


Sign up for the monthly update. Lean and simple.

No spam, ever. Just great stuff.