AI: Deep Learning vs. Machine Learning for Beginners

Artificial Intelligence
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
January 30, 2024
person coding on a laptop and a large monitor

Dive into the world of AI: Understand the distinctions between Deep Learning (DL) and Machine Learning (ML). Explore practical applications in real-world scenarios—from personalized recommendations to fraud detection and self-driving cars. Discover the nuances, and real-life uses that set DL and ML apart.

AI: Deep Learning vs. Machine Learning for Beginners

In today's tech landscape, the terms artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) are often used interchangeably. While they share a common thread, there are also distinct nuances that set them apart.

Let’s look at how AI, ML, and DL connect and work together, as well as some significant differences. 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) encompasses a machine's capacity to engage in cognitive tasks akin to human mental processes. This includes perception, reasoning, problem-solving, learning, and even creativity.

Today, you’ll find AI applications across various parts of everyday life. AI is everywhere, from autonomous vehicles and virtual assistants to medical diagnosis systems and recommendation algorithms, and its impact is growing. Understanding AI holds the key to future advancements in computing, including coding and processing.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning (ML) is a component of AI that enables machines to learn from data and improve their performance on specific tasks. Here are some real-world examples that illustrate the practical applications of ML.

Product Recommendations

E-commerce giants like Amazon and entertainment platforms such as Spotify and Netflix use ML to deliver tailored suggestions. These recommendations are curated based on your browsing habits, previous purchases, and cart history, all processed through sophisticated ML models. 

Whether suggesting products that complement your taste or offering new music or TV shows aligned with your preferences, these algorithms refine their insights over time, ensuring a personalized experience designed to keep you engaged and satisfied. 

Spam Filtering

Email servers employ ML to meticulously sift through incoming messages to detect and remove spam. It does this by discerning patterns in content to identify and segregate spam from legitimate emails. It analyzes various elements, including email domains, sender location, message structure, and IP addresses. User interaction plays a role, too — when you correct an erroneous filing, the system learns from that as well.

Image Recognition

From tagging familiar faces on social media to spotting cancer in X-rays, image recognition is a major application of ML. The algorithms scrutinize pixel intensities, distinguishing objects in both grayscale and color images.

One prominent image recognition application is facial recognition, which is frequently utilized in law enforcement. With a database of individuals, the system identifies shared traits, aiding in matching faces to names. This tool helps investigators narrow down lists of potential suspects. 

Customer Service Chat Boxes

Chatbots powered by AI have become integral to customer service. These AI-driven assistants deploy ML to comprehend and respond effectively to customer queries. Through continuous learning and refinement, these chatbots adapt to varying inputs, be it voice or text. Behind the scenes, dedicated machine learning engineers work to enhance bot conversations for seamless interactions for companies worldwide. 

What is Deep Learning?

Deep learning (DL) is a subset of ML that delves into the intricate layers of neural networks, mimicking the human brain's neural structure. The relationship between ML and DL is part of the overall architecture of AI.

Let’s take a look at some concrete examples of DL in the real world across various industries.

Fraud Detection

Companies leverage DL to meticulously scrutinize user transactions, identifying anomalies that may indicate potential fraud. By gathering data from various sources, including device location and purchasing patterns, a unique user profile is constructed, enhancing accuracy in detection.

This proactive approach to fraud detection is imperative for any entity handling sensitive data to create a shield against financial threats.

Self-Driving Cars

While fully autonomous vehicles are still on the horizon, DL has been instrumental in advancing this technology. It enables self-driving cars to determine your destination and predict and respond to environmental obstacles, charting a secure course to transport you.

Uber's AI labs are leveraging DL to expand their autonomous vehicle fleet, even venturing into self-driving cars for on-demand food delivery. The key challenge for self-driving cars lies in subjecting them to diverse scenarios to enable safe operation, so their sensors can take in more information and sophisticated models can process more data from cameras, geo-mapping, and more.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) & Speech Recognition

While human language comprehension is inherently complex due to various factors like context, accents, and handwriting, DL-based natural language processing (NLP) is rising to the challenge. By training computers to generate apt responses to linguistic inputs, autoencoders and distributed representation techniques are driving the evolution of NLP. 

Models like Google Voice Search and Siri utilize DL to analyze audio, identify speech nuances, and transcribe it into text. Technologies such as DeepMind's WaveNet further refine this process, employing neural networks to recognize syllable patterns and inflection points. This leads to virtual assistants like Google's exhibiting a more human-like cadence.

Language Translation

People increasingly traverse borders, and businesses cater to a global audience. However, language remains a significant barrier for many people. DL algorithms help bridge this gap, automatically detecting and translating across languages. From aiding travelers seeking directions to facilitating high-level government discussions, DL plays a prominent role in increasingly effective and accurate cross-lingual communication. 

The Major Differences Between Deep Learning and Machine Learning

While both deep learning and machine learning fall under the broad umbrella of AI, we need to recognize their differences. DL delves into intricate neural network architectures, emulating the human brain's complex structure. In contrast, ML encompasses a broader array of algorithms and techniques, focusing on enabling machines to learn and make decisions from data. Let’s look closer at the differences between DL and ML.

How They Train

Machine learning and deep learning have distinct differences in how they’re trained. ML algorithms are designed to be efficient, requiring relatively smaller datasets and ranging from seconds to a few hours for training. ML can focus on tasks without explicit instruction.

DL demands extensive data and significant time investment, with training durations spanning from hours to weeks. DL works in more intricate territory, aiming to automate tasks typically reliant on human intelligence.


ML training can be accomplished using a standard CPU (Central Processing Unit), whereas DL necessitates a dedicated, more powerful GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to handle the computational demands. 

Human Intervention

Machine learning requires human guidance for expansion, even as it absorbs new data. When an AI algorithm yields an inaccurate prediction, an engineer steps in to fine-tune the model.

Deep learning’s neural networks allow it to self-assess predictions with minimal human assistance. This unique computing approach grants DL a self-learning capability akin to having its own cognitive processes.

Real-Life Uses

With its simpler nature, ML has found widespread real-world application in various domains. ML is seamlessly integrated into our daily lives, from recommendation systems to predictive analytics. Its effectiveness is evident in tasks like spam filtering, product recommendations, and even medical diagnoses.

DL, however, is more complex, so while its potential is immense, it requires more sophisticated and autonomous programs to be effectively harnessed in real-life scenarios. DL's capacity for intricate pattern recognition, language translation, and image processing holds immense promise for future applications, but its current deployment demands a higher level of technical sophistication. 

Develop Your Coding Skills With App Academy

App Academy is integrating AI into our core curriculum so that we can continue to evolve and prepare our graduates for the most innovative careers. 

In addition to our focus on AI, our program curriculums include coding languages like Python, Java, and JavaScript, all of which are great tools for AI and ML projects. 

Sign up for a live online info session to learn more, or schedule a 1:1 call with one of our team experts. Start your software engineering career today with App Academy, and see how far you can go!


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