Artificial Intelligence Vs Machine Learning - What's The Difference?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two of the most hyped-up and booming technologies in use today. Although both of these terminologies are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a clear line of distinction between the two. Even though both domains are based on statistics and mathematics, some crucial contrast between the two distinguishes them. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive insight into what AI and ML are. This article will also serve as a guide to elaborate on the difference between these two domains.

Artificial Intelligence vs Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence

AI has been around longer than ML and any other associated field. Artificial Intelligence refers to the capability of any machine to simulate human intelligence and behavior. Human capabilities include reasoning, problem-solving, linguistic competence, perceptions, and how humans learn. In simplest terms, AI is the ability to perform tasks that generally require human intelligence. In addition, it also refers to the ability of the machine to perform tasks that it was not explicitly programmed to do. 

Artificial Intelligence vs Machine Learning

Some common examples of AI include Machine Translation (Google Translate), Spam Filters, Personal Assistants (Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant), Speech Recognition Systems (IBM), and Recommendation Systems (Google Ads, Amazon's suggestions). In addition, some of the trending fields in Artificial Intelligence are natural movement in robotics, bias detection in natural language processing, and content generation using AI.

Since AI has become a part of almost all use cases, some legitimate ethical considerations still need to be worked out. The core idea behind AI is that a machine makes decisions on its own and does not require explicit programming. However, this capability comes with a lot of privacy and ethical barriers. Some of the ethical considerations are highlighted below:

  • Privacy concerns (AI recording conversations)
  • Biases on data (Racist classifications)
  • Accidental damages (Accidents in self-driving cars)
  • Algorithmic failures 

Machine Learning

Machine Learning, on the other hand, is a subdomain of Artificial Intelligence. It refers to any computer application or program capable of “learning” on its own without any explicit rules by a human. To elaborate further, it is more concerned with training models used to train computers to perform tasks based on data, evaluate their performance and make decisions based on that "learning". These tasks often include prediction (what would be the weather the next day), classification (determining what is in the picture), or data generation (generating human speech or text). 

Artificial Intelligence vs Machine Learning

Machine learning models take input data in the form of features and target variables usually paired as (x,y), where x is the independent variable or the feature, and y is the dependent variable. For instance, in a house price prediction problem, x could be the type of house, location, or several rooms. On the other hand, y is the price predicted based on the x variable. It is commonly known as a Supervised Learning pattern. However, in the Unsupervised Learning model, the algorithm generates answers on the unlabeled data. It is commonly used to discover patterns in data. The other two types of learning are semi-supervised learning and ensemble learning. 

Difference Between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning - Summarized

The field of Artificial Intelligence enables machines to behave like humans - to enable them to think, behave and learn naturally. On the other hand, ML refers to the learning process of machines to solve any task or a problem. In addition, AI is the generalized field of intelligent machines, while ML is one of the core applications of AI

Not only that, AI is an umbrella term consisting of various processes related to technology and mathematics, whereas ML is specifically restricted to the supervised or unsupervised learning of machines without following any explicitly specified rules.


In conclusion, the article has covered the differences between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning along with the examples in each domain. Although people use the terms interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between the two. Artificial Intelligence has been around for much longer than Machine Learning, but its discovery led to the beginning of Machine Learning. Get stuck in and start learning AI today - a great resource for this is the ALl new Microsoft Core Energy AI Academy

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