Skip to main content

What is machine learning and where is it used?

Explore the world of machine learning, its definition and its pivotal role in businesses.

With the value of the global machine learning market expected to reach US$20.83 billion in 2024, machine learning is rapidly transforming a growing number of businesses around the world, across a vast range of industries. 

Definition of machine learning 


Machine learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It refers to the use of data and algorithms in machines and computer systems so they can mimic the way humans learn, improving their accuracy in the process. 


Machine learning makes up an important part of the fast-growing area of data science. By utilising statistical methods, algorithms are trained by humans to make predictions or classifications, and to uncover key data insights.  


These insights help to drive better decision-making within businesses, enabling them to reach their goals faster and grow.  

Why do businesses use machine learning? 


Because of its ability to go through large amounts of raw data quickly to uncover key data insights, machine learning can play a critical role in the success of a business. 


Machine learning gives businesses insights into vital areas such as customer behaviours, market and customer trends, and operational processes. Importantly, it also gives businesses access to these insights fast, so they can quickly respond accordingly. 


This is why many of today’s largest and most successful global organisations, such as Google, Meta, Uber and Netflix, all utilise machine learning as a core part of their business operations. 

Machine learning examples 


It’s estimated around 1 in 10 businesses now use 10 or more AI applications, with chatbots, process optimisation and fraud analysis among their top uses.  


Additionally, a recent survey by Algorithmia found that reducing company costs, generating customer insights and intelligence, and improving customer experiences were the 3 most popular use cases of machine learning.   


It’s not surprising, then, that 83% of IT leaders stated AI and machine learning is transforming customer engagement within their businesses. 


Just some examples of how machine learning is used in everyday life include: 

  • Chatbots 

  • Patient monitoring and management 

  • Public safety 

  • Public policy-making 

  • Cybersecurity 

  • Smart assistants (e.g. Alexa, Siri) 

  • Social networking 

  • Relationship and dating apps 

  • Personal finance and banking solutions 

  • Travel time estimates 

  • Personalised recommendations (e.g. Netflix, Spotify) 

How can an MSc in Artificial Intelligence help you apply machine learning technologies? 


A master's degree in Artificial Intelligence can teach you the core capabilities of AI and machine learning and empower you with the confidence and skills you need to make a positive contribution to this exciting new era in global technological development. 


You’ll learn how your organisation can utilise AI and machine learning to deliver better outcomes for customers, improve internal processes and business models, and develop new commercial opportunities.  


A master's in Artificial Intelligence will equip you with a thorough understanding of this rapidly-evolving field, enabling you to find and apply practical solutions to address real business needs. 


If you want to understand how machine learning can enhance your professional capabilities, discover how The University of Hull's 100% online MSc in Artificial Intelligence can help you effectively apply machine learning technologies:


The University of Hull Online blog

Get the latest news, course insights and career tips on the University of Hull Online blog.

The University of Hull and its digital courses provider, Hull Online Limited, delivered in partnership with Cambridge Education Group Digital (CEGD), will only use your personal data to contact you in relation to our courses. For further information, please see the privacy policy.