Machine Learning Glossary: To Master ML, Start Here


Study these terms and add “machine learning expert” to your list of accomplishments.

The Basics:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)The capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. 

Applied AI (sometimes referred to as Vertical AI or Narrow AI): “Smart” systems that address a specific need, like trading stocks, or personalizing ads.

General AI (also known as Strong AI or Full AI): Systems or devices which can handle any task that a human being can.

Machine Learning (ML): A subset of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn without explicit programming.


Geeking Out:

Big Data: Extremely large information assets that require cost-effective, innovative forms of data processing to enhance insights into trends and behaviors, precise decision making, and process automation.

Deep Learning: A subset of ML that is inspired by the structure of the human brain and uses artificial neural networks to process data similar to the way neurons do in our brains. It involves feeding massive amounts of data through the neural network to “train” the system to accurately classify the data.

Natural Language Processing (NLP): A field focused on programming computers to process and understand human language. It enables computers to carry out tasks such as translation, sentiment analysis, and speech recognition.

 (Learn more: Machine Learning at a Glance: Fast Facts for Top Marketers)

Next Level:

Augmented Reality (AR): Digital information (like pictures and/or sound) overlaid on top of an image or integrated with an environment.

Virtual Reality (VR): The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment.


Google Brain: Google’s deep learning artificial intelligence research project.

Waymo: Google’s self-driving car project.

Project Magenta: Google’s research project focused on using machine learning to create art and music.


Download these terms in a handy PDF here, and be sure to check out the complete Smart Marketer’s Guide to Machine Learning.

Smart Marketer's Guide to Machine Learning