Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence focused on creating machines that can teach themselves to do a specified task. After the initial programming, the machines are able to read and analyze data very quickly. From that data, the machines can learn to recognize patterns. The more they do this, the more accurate they can become. There are already many real world applications for machine learning and many of them can perform certain functions more accurately and more quickly than humans. Machine learning has the potential to be put to good use in Third World countries. Here are just a couple examples.
When crops in First World countries become diseased, experts with access to expensive lab equipment and gear can come in to identify the disease and recommend treatment to save the crops. Farmers in Third World countries simply don’t have the resources to do this and in the event their crops become diseased, there’s a very good chance they’ll lose their entire crop endangering their livelihood and leading to food shortages.
Researchers at Penn State University think they may have a solution to this problem. They’ve developed a machine learning program that can be downloaded as an app on mobile devices. The neural network behind the app has been fed a database of 53,000 photos including 14 crop types and 26 different diseases. The user simply takes a picture of the diseased crop, and the app uses deep learning to identify the disease and recommend treatment.
One of the greatest threats facing Third World countries is the lack of access to good health care. Well the same technology that can be used to save crops by identifying diseases in them can also be used to identify diseases in humans as well. Technicians would be needed on hand to perform the actual medical scans but machine learning could be used to analyze the scans and catch diseases sooner than humans would be able to. This can free up a lot of the time that doctors would spend analyzing medical scans to do other important work.
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Tags: artificial intelligence, machine learning, AI technology, AI research, deep learning