What is the Difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

artificial intelligencei vs machine learning

The terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are mentioned everywhere. Sometimes they are even used as synonymous words. A very common question when dealing with AI and ML is: “What is actually the difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning?”. This article tries to answer that question as simply as possible.

The Definion of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The first thing we are going do is to go through the definitions of the two different terms.

Artificial Intelligence

  • “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”

Any technique that enables computers to mimic human intelligence by using logic statements, decision trees and machine learning is classified as artificial intelligence. One can think if artificial intelligence as the art of making computers think and act without assistance from a human operator. AI is said to be a program that can sense, reason, act and adapt.

Machine Learning

  • “A computer program is said to learn from experience E with respect to some class of tasks T and performance measure P if its performance at tasks in T, as measured by P, improves with experience E.”

As a subset of artificial intelligence technologies, machine learning enables machines to improve at completing a task with experience (data). One example hereof is deep learning which again is a subset of machine learning technologies. Deep learning is composed of algorithms that permit software to train itself to perform tasks such as image recognition or speech recognition. Read more about deep learning and neural networks here.

The idea of Artificial Intelligence

For a long time, the general idea was that computers could be programmed to follow a series of logical rules in order to mimic our behaviour. Eventually, if there were enough of these rules, it would be equivalent to artificial intelligence. That turned out to be a near impossible aproach, and many of the tasks that machine learning can solve today would not be solvable with this technique.

Today, machine learning is the best candidate to realize artificial intelligence. Instead of preprogramming every scenario we can think of, we simply feed the machine learning algorithm vast amouts of data that it can learn from. That way, the program will learn the best parameters to complete a given task rather than having a programmer set these parameters herself.


Machine learning is a tool (or technology) which can be used to implement and realize artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is the combination of technologies that allows a computer to make decisions and automate tasks that would otherwise have been done by humans. The diffrence between machine learning and artificial intelligence is that machine learning is a tool used to achieve artificial intelligence.

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