Due to innovations around technology, we can experience things like machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, deep learning, etc. These technologies have made lives much simpler. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that essentially teaches computers to find patterns in sounds, images and other data.
The tech giants like Facebook, Apple, Google are investing huge in it. Google spent million dollars to acquire deep learning firm DeepMind. And, Apple hired deep learning experts at fever pitch.
Deep learning technology lets you unlock your phone with your thumbprint. It enables Facebook and government agencies to identify your face in pictures. And it helps Siri and Alexa understand just what the hell you're saying. Advertisers are experimenting with using deep learning to count how many passersby stare at billboards. The self-driving cars that we're told are just around the corner rely on deep learning to avoid hitting other cars. The futurists are already thinking about new ways it can be used in marketing strategies. App-makers increasingly are taking the first steps to supercharging picture and image recognition with deep learning.
"Structured data is difficult to amass and expensive to curate, but it's the cornerstone of supervised learning [the most common kind of machine learning]," says Cambron Carter, computer vision technology lead at GumGum, an artificial intelligence company based in Los Angeles.
Companies like Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have developed in such a way that has made deep learning cheaper and easier to integrate into consumer tech products and services. Marketing and advertising firms are already using deep learning techniques to extrapolate data from things like Instagram images and YouTube videos.
Attaching a dollar count to deep learning isn't easy. Even publicly traded corporations like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are cagey about exactly how deep learning makes it into their current products and the R&D they're planning for the future.
"Deep learning forms the foundation of new AI-powered user experiences like image classification, natural language processing and search recommendations," Jim McHugh, Nvidia's VP of enterprise products, tells Ad Age by email.
Deep learning lets computers do things better. Cleverly executed deep learning algorithms means systems that can recognize which cars show up most often in Instagram pictures or track how long a viewer watches a television ad before she gets bored.
As there is a relatively small community of machine learning experts, large tech companies have been uncharacteristically open about their deep learning research. Researchers at companies like Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft are encouraged to publish papers; even hyper-secretive Apple publishes its own Machine Learning Journal on the subject.
Apple and other vendors are trying their best to help software-makers integrate deep learning functionality into apps. For instance, Microsoft offers a free Cognitive Toolkit that, according to a Microsoft representative, is designed to help create enterprise-ready AI by letting users create, train and evaluate their own neural networks. Microsoft says the tool kit is for use cases ranging from the Chesapeake Conservancy's training of neural networks to speed up data analysis of wild spaces to a Chinese firm, AdDoc, whose tech rapidly detects the onset of diabetes complications.
Right now, deep learning technology is mostly leveraged on faraway cloud servers. Apple famously tries to keep as much of Siri's back end as possible on iPhones, but Alexa's voice recognition and Facebook's facial detection all rely on distant servers.
It is forecasted that software developers will vastly improve the local image and voice analysis capabilities of smartphones. And that means everything from full-featured photo and video editing software on mobile devices to reliable disease diagnosis via phone camera to 24/7 processing (opt-in, we hope) of audio captured by phones.
Speaking of app-makers and social media platforms, Mike Gualtieri of Forrester Research notes,
"They're going to start pushing down capabilities to the mobile phone. First, for anything to do with images and then anything to do with voice recognition."
Smartphones have already transformed the world in many ways, whether by the omnipresent cameras that are now the backbone of a narcissistic culture or by rendering long-distance charges a thing of the past or by fueling revolutions in gaming and e-commerce. Deep learning is part of that transformative process, and it has only just begun.