Artificial intelligence and machine learning is gathering pace at a much faster rate than most people imagined.

If you thought it was still a few years away before any impact would be felt, think again. This technology is already embedded in our everyday lives. Marketers are having to be forward thinking and efficient if they are to scale and automate their marketing programmes by embracing machine learning technology.

There is, however, the little mentioned gem in the AI armoury. deep learning. Deep learning can provide even more powerful insights to marketers. It is predicted that by not using deep learning technology marketers will be losing out on essential insights that will fuel marketing technology development this year and going forward.

There is a key distinction between AI and machine learning and deep learning.  Deep learning is a combination of big data sets, machine learning, computer processing power and neural networks that make applications smarter as it learns.  AI and machine learning can be thought of as applications with deep learning as the technology, all should be thought of as subcategories of AI and for marketers it is important to distinguish the differences between them.

So, what are the distinctions, AI (the umbrella term) is the science of making machines smarter, which, in turn, augments human knowledge and capabilities. Artificial Intelligence is any computer program that does something smart.

AI is normally categorized into narrow AI and general AI (where machines can do exactly what humans do) Today, only narrow AI applications are available, and these can be either supervised or unsupervised as applications grow in intelligence.

Machine learning is a subset of AI where machines take data and begin to learn for themselves. Large data sets feed algorithms that are programmed to learn and improve without the need for human data input and reprogramming. it allows a system to learn to recognize patterns on its own and make predictions.

Another subset of AI is deep learning – better described as a technique. Deep learning technologies train themselves and are based on the biology of the human brain and neural networks. Massive data sets are combined with pattern-recognition capabilities to automatically make decisions, find patterns and power self-learning.

It is the brains behind AI — and has enabled many practical applications of machine learning and powered the growth of AI. it is a technology that makes applications smarter and more natural as it makes sense of big data via immense computer processing speed.

One of the biggest differences between machine learning and deep learning is the number of data sets used and data points involved. Machine learning uses thousands of data points, whereas deep learning uses millions.

For a marketer, the potential output and insights from deep learning are staggering. Competition is fierce for marketers who are always looking for an edge, this may be just it.