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Jonathan Bartlett: The key to machine learning is not machines but mathematics

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                  Jonathan Bartlett

People forget that finger counting is machine learning too. (as far as your mind is concerned, your fingers are machines.)

The key to machine learning is not machines but mathematics. There is nothing special about silicon and electricity. In fact, the first computers were mechanical, not electrical.

The devices designed by Charles Babbage (1791-1871) are best-known. Babbage’s Difference Engine was built in 2002, 153 years after it was designed. and his Analytical Engine was designed (though never completed) in 1837. But well before Babbage, others had invented mechanical computational devices. Wilhelm Schickard built a mechanical adding machine in 1623, and Blaise Pascal built a more complete and workable version in 1642.

Computers are just machines that do math using electricity. Whether we are doing math with computers, mechanical calculators, pens and pencils, or our fingers to help, we are doing machine learning.

So, to get at the heart of the beginning of machine learning, we must ask ourselves, what does the machine do and how?…

Jonathan Bartlett, “Machine learning dates back to at least 300 BC” at Mind Matters News

Demystifying some of these topics might help a bit. It’s not The Machine. It’s you.

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See also: Eighteenth-century windup robots, featuring intricate robots that do not use electric power.


UD Author’s Suggested Correction To Calculus Instruction Goes Viral (Yes, that’s our johnnyb!)

One Reply to “Jonathan Bartlett: The key to machine learning is not machines but mathematics

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