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The Employee’s Guide to Navigating Machine Learning

Jump into the Machine Learning era with this comprehensive employee's guide

Machines (mainly computers) are taking over the world and – despite what movies like the Matrix and A.I. -- Artificial Intelligence would have you believe – that’s a very good thing. They automate tedious tasks, make data collection a breeze, and upgrade work processes, boosting productivity and efficiency. Their applications are broad, and their potential is near-infinite. Their widespread use has sparked a new industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 aka the Machine Learning Era.

As a cog in the modern-day corporate or non-corporate wheel, you can now expect machines and related technologies to be a mainstay of your workplace, regardless of your industry. If you want to be an effective worker, not to mention feel more comfortable at your job, you must keep yourself informed of these new technologies and learn how to work with them.

Today, WiserUTips.com covers everything you should know about machine learning – including how it may apply to your workplace and why it’s probably a good idea to gain some related training: 

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is exactly what it sounds like – machines learning, changing, and adapting over time, just like humans do. If you’d like a more formal definition, MIT offers one – machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence, giving computers the ability to learn without having to be programmed explicitly every time. Essentially, it’s computers and other devices being able to analyze and respond to events or data points without the need for human control or intervention.

Here are some popular applications of this technology (things you’ve likely come across before):

  • Movie recommendations based on your history on sites like Netflix
  • Medical diagnoses based on computer scans
  • Chatbots talking to you using predictive text
  • Voice assistant services like Apple’s Siri or Google’s voice bot

Machine Learning has Come Very Far Indeed – Some Fun Facts

Machine learning, at this point, is surprisingly well-developed and prevalent:

  • There are therapy pets: You can buy a robot pet in the market. They provide company, can learn some basic tricks, and even offer mental and emotional support.
  • They know how to play chess: Google’s DeepMind taught itself chess in 4 hours and beat a grandmaster-level program afterward.
  • They can write articles: As The Guardian shows, GPT-3 wrote an original article, promising us humans that it wasn’t interested in wiping us out. 
  • There’s a robot citizen in Saudi Arabia: Robot Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia back in 2017.
  • Machines can recognize emotions: Machines have become sophisticated enough to recognize human emotions through facial or speech recognition technology and respond accordingly.
  • Future warfare will likely involve ML: Machine learning algorithms will allow computers to attack each other (and fend each other off) in the future.
  • You may be able to marry robots by 2050: As a Fortune article can confirm, humans marrying robots may well be an everyday phenomenon by 2050.

Workplace Benefits of Machine Learning 

Machine learning and related technologies, as we mentioned previously, are transforming everyday work processes. The technology is surprisingly cheap to implement, being computer-based, meaning companies both big and small can take advantage of it.

Here are some concrete benefits of machine learning at the workplace: 

1. Allowing easier, data-driven decision making

Machines are capable of analyzing vast sets of data, gathered by sensors, scanners, and other devices (or input manually by humans). Using sophisticated decision-making algorithms, machines can pinpoint critical trends, underline patterns, and even make accurate predictions. Industry leaders can so use machines to aid their decision-making, as opposed to making educated guesses or relying on estimates. This data-driven decision-making can be observed across many fields, from financial and business management to medical diagnoses and market predictions.

2. Enabling next-level automation 

Machine learning can upgrade automation and take it to the next level. You’re likely familiar with automation already and use it every day in some manner. For instance, having due invoices auto-sent at a certain time, having reminders sent to you before meetings, and sending pre-written responses to customer emails.

With machine learning, automation can be deeper, more targeted, and more useful. In the case of invoicing, for instance, you can not only have your invoices auto-sent, but also know when an invoice didn’t go through, who still hasn’t responded (or paid) an outstanding invoice, and have extra actions suggested to you – such as having an email sent to your legal representative to look into late invoices. 

3. Improving the workplace culture

Machine learning can positively impact workplace culture, especially when used in tandem with BPM (Business Process Management) to automate redundant tasks. The latter refers to the use of various methods to measure, improve, and optimize business processes, including machine learning.

Using a BPM framework involves constantly monitoring its effectiveness and then using the output to improve the model. With the right application, employees improve their efficiency, eliminate errors, and add to the business's balance sheet. Moreover, it allows employees to automate many tedious tasks. This not only frees up their time but also makes work more enjoyable. It all has a positive impact on the workplace culture. There is less drudgery and “grunt work” is minimal.

4. Assisting employee management and development

Machine learning has many applications in employee management and development. It can be used during recruitment, refining interviewing, eliminating biases, and offering actionable insight into candidates. After recruitment, it can be used in day-to-day employee management. For instance, employers can use behavior analysis and similar methods to engage employees, offer a more personalized experience, spot problems, and offer better feedback. Last, but not least, machine learning can help advance an employee’s career. It can be used for career guidance, training, and soft-skill development.

5. Supporting user-behavior analysis

Machine learning can be used to support user-behavior analysis, which is the practice of analyzing a user’s previous actions to understand their preferences and predict their future actions. Companies use user-behavior analytics to sell more products and services, better their offerings, anticipate problems, and predict market trends. Machine learning allows computers to perform user-behavior analysis automatically and then use the findings to service the customer better. For instance, Netflix uses machine learning to offer personalized movie recommendations to its users. Countless companies use chatbots to provide a better customer service experience.  

Why People Like You Need Machine Learning-Related Training 

As things stand, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with artificial intelligence and machine learning (a subset of AI). While you don’t need to know the nuts and bolts of the technology itself, unless you’re looking to make a career in the field, you do need to be capable of working with machine-learning-driven tools – like productivity apps, IoT devices, communication systems, and more. This is why you should consider an online software development degree, Virtual classes, seminars, and other learning opportunities are widely available, and today it’s more affordable than ever to achieve. You’ll become equipped with the latest industry knowledge, including AI, data management, and even coding.

Employers, increasingly, expect such skills from their workers. It's going to make you more productive, not to mention make your life easier. Furthermore, there are security considerations at stake – AI-based cyber attacks are becoming commonplace. Being able to recognize the signs and report them in time is now a necessary skill.


Machine learning is here to stay. While it likely won’t take over your job, it is likely to become a part of your workflow (if it hasn’t already). By getting comfortable with machine learning and its applications in your niche or industry – including taking online courses for a deeper understanding – you can learn to be more productive at work, impress your employer, improve your prospects, and generally remain employable for years to come. 

Image via Unsplash

Kathy Bernard of WiserUTips.com is a career coach, LinkedIn expert, and public speaker/trainer. She is the creator of the WiserU Career System. Contact Kathy today to learn more! 847-606-5160

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