What happens when we teach a computer how to learn? Technologist Jeremy Howard shares some surprising new developments in the fast-moving field of deep learning, a technique that can give computers the ability to learn Chinese, or to recognize objects in photos, or to help think through a medical diagnosis. (One deep learning tool, after watching hours of YouTube, taught itself the concept of “cats.”) Get caught up on a field that will change the way the computers around you behave … sooner than you probably think.



  • excruciating – very embarrassing, awkward, or tedious
  • dozen – a group or set of twelve / informal a lot
  • nuance – a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound
  • magnify – make (something) appear larger than it is, especially with a lens or microscope
  • enhance – intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of
  • exponential – (of an increase) becoming more and more rapid



Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at times indicated in brackets.

  • How did Arthur Samuel teach the computer to play checkers? (1:06)
  • In what ways are companies using machine learning? 2:31
  • What is deep learning? 4:06
  • In what way did Google use deep learning to map France? 7:19
  • In what way is Jeremy’s image search system different from that used by Google? 9:28
  • What kind of breakthrough in medicine has machine learning contributed to recently? 11:26
  • How can people and machines work together? 15:51
  • What are the dangers of machine learning?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the  missing words.

So Arthur Samuel was ________ father of machine learning, and I have a great debt to him, because I am ________  machine learning practitioner. I was the president of Kaggle, a community of over 200,000 machine learning practitioners. Kaggle puts up competitions to try and ________  them to solve previously unsolved problems, and it’s ________ successful hundreds of times. So from this vantage point, I was able to find out a lot about what machine learning can do in the ________, ________do today, and what it ________ do in the future. Perhaps the first big success of machine learning commercially was Google. Google showed that it ________ possible to find information by using a computer algorithm, and this algorithm is based on machine learning. Since that time, there ________ been many commercial successes of machine learning. Companies like Amazon and Netflix use machine learning to suggest products that you might like to buy, movies that you might like to watch. Sometimes, it’s almost creepy. Companies like LinkedIn and Facebook sometimes will tell you about who your friends might be and you have ________ idea how it did it, and this is because it’s using the power of machine learning. These are algorithms that have learned how to do this from data ________ than being programmed by hand.


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