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Machine Learning: Opportunities and Risks for the Future

Machine Learning: Opportunities and Risks for the Future

Dive into the world of Machine Learning with our latest episode on The Zista Podcast. Join us and our guest, Dr. Huong Ha, an expert from RMIT University, as we discuss the future of this influential technology. 

Our aim is to fuel your curiosity and provide valuable insights on the latest innovations in Machine Learning research. Are you eager to be on the leading edge of this evolving discipline? Here’s your chance to stay ahead and be informed about what’s new, noteworthy, and next in Machine Learning.

Discover the difference between AI and Machine Learning, the globally trending ML applications, and the latest groundbreaking research. 

Tune in for an enlightening discourse that could reshape your perspective on the future of technology. Don’t miss this must-listen episode – your gateway to the future is just a click away!

Welcome to our latest episode of The Zista Podcast – a deep dive into the fascinating world of Machine Learning, with all its immense opportunities and intrinsic risks. Aspiring students, tech enthusiasts, or simply those curious about the future of technology, prepare yourselves for a compelling discourse that could fundamentally shape your understanding of this dynamic field.

Joining us in this enlightening conversation is the accomplished Dr. Huong Ha. A lecturer par excellence in Computer Science and Information Technology at the esteemed RMIT University School of Science, Dr. Ha brings a wealth of knowledge from her distinguished academic journey, which includes a BSc from Portland State University, and a PhD from the University of Newcastle in Australia.

In this insightful episode, we delve into intriguing topics like discerning the differences between Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence – an essential foundational knowledge. We bring to light, Machine Learning applications that are not just stirring up the tech world but are also significantly impacting various global sectors.

An esteemed researcher in machine learning, automated machine, and data-driven software engineering, Dr. Ha’s insights are enriched by her extensive publications in industry and scientific journals. Her understanding and informed perspectives make this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in the practicalities, potentials, and pitfalls of Machine Learning.

So gear up for a thought-provoking session that promises to add immense value to your Machine Learning journey.


  • AI refers to machines mimicking human intelligence, while machine learning, a subset of AI, uses algorithms to learn from data and make decisions.
  • Machine learning applications span a variety of fields including natural language processing, computer vision, personalized online recommendations, healthcare, and finance.
  • Building a machine learning project involves steps such as defining the objective, collecting and cleaning data, exploratory data analysis, feature engineering, model development, evaluation, real-world evaluation, and deployment.
  • Innovations in machine learning include advancements in generative AI, improvements in model architectures, techniques for model explainability, privacy-preserving machine learning, and quantum machine learning.
  • Career Opportunities: Career options in machine learning include roles such as Machine Learning Engineer, Data Scientist, Research Scientist, and Machine Learning Consultant.

Q1: What is the difference between machine learning and AI and how are they related or distinct?

A: AI, according to Dr. Ha, refers to the capability of a machine or system to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning or problem-solving. It involves machines or systems that can mimic human cognitive functions. On the other hand, machine learning is a subset of AI. It involves developing algorithms or models that can learn from data and make decisions based on that data without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning is an approach used to achieve artificial intelligence.

In summary, while AI encompasses a broader scope of capabilities, machine learning is a specific technique within the field of AI. Machine learning plays a crucial role in many AI applications, as it allows systems to learn from data and make predictions or automate decisions for specific problems. Thus, machine learning is both related to and distinct from artificial intelligence.

Q2: What are some of the applications in the field of machine learning that are gaining global traction?

A: Dr. Ha discusses several applications that have gained significant traction in the field of machine learning. One notable area is natural language processing (NLP), which involves developing methods to understand, interpret, and generate human language. NLP has led to the development of virtual assistants like ChatGPT, which can engage in conversations and provide responses based on natural language input. Additionally, language translation systems have been developed using machine learning techniques, enabling the translation of text from one language to another. These advancements in NLP have had a significant impact on applications such as virtual assistants and language translation tools.

Another area of interest is computer vision, where machine learning techniques are applied to analyze visual data. Computer vision enables machines to extract information from images and videos. For example, platforms like Facebook utilize computer vision algorithms to automatically detect and identify individuals in photos, making it easier to tag and organize images. This is achieved through object detection algorithms that can identify specific objects or people within an image.

In addition to NLP and computer vision, machine learning finds applications in various other domains. One such application is personalized online recommendations. Machine learning algorithms are used to analyze user behavior and preferences in order to provide tailored recommendations. Platforms like YouTube employ recommendation systems that suggest videos based on a user’s viewing history and interests. Similarly, e-commerce websites use machine learning to recommend products based on a user’s browsing and purchasing behavior.

Furthermore, machine learning has made significant contributions to fields like healthcare and finance. In healthcare, machine learning algorithms are utilized for tasks such as medical diagnosis, detecting abnormalities in medical images, and predicting disease outcomes. These algorithms learn from large datasets and assist medical professionals in making informed decisions. In finance, machine learning plays a crucial role in tasks such as credit scoring, fraud detection, and financial predictions. Machine learning models are trained on historical financial data to identify patterns and make accurate predictions.

In summary, machine learning has diverse applications across various domains, impacting everyday activities and industries. While NLP and computer vision may be more well-known, numerous other applications exist, influencing different aspects of our lives.

Q3: If a student wanted to explore a machine learning project, what steps would be involved in finally deploying a solution?

A: Dr. Ha explains that developing a machine learning project involves several important steps beyond simply writing code for the machine learning model. To successfully deploy a solution, the following steps should be considered:

  1. Define the Objective: Clearly define the objective of the machine learning project and the desired outcome. This involves determining the predicted output or goal that the model aims to achieve.
  2. Gather and Collect Data: Collect relevant data that is required to solve the problem at hand. This includes gathering data specific to the problem domain and ensuring sufficient data is available for training the machine learning model.
  3. Data Cleaning: Process and clean the collected data. Data can be messy, containing abnormalities or missing values. Cleaning the data involves handling these issues and ensuring the data is in a suitable format for further analysis.
  4. Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA): Perform exploratory data analysis to understand the relationships and patterns within the data. This step helps in gaining insights into how the data is structured and how the different features are related to each other.
  5. Feature Engineering: Transform the raw data into a feature vector suitable for the machine learning model. This step involves selecting and engineering relevant features from the data to enhance the model’s performance.
  6. Model Development: Write the code for the machine learning model using a suitable framework or library. Train the model on the processed data and make predictions.
  7. Model Evaluation: Evaluate the performance of the machine learning model using evaluation metrics and test datasets. Ensure that the model performs well and achieves the desired accuracy or effectiveness.
  8. Real-World Evaluation: Evaluate the model’s performance on real-world data that it will encounter in practice. This step helps ensure that the model performs well in real-world scenarios and handles the variations and challenges present in practical applications.
  9. Deployment: Deploy the machine learning model or the entire system in the intended environment. This involves making the model accessible and usable by the intended users or stakeholders.
  10. Monitoring and Maintenance: Develop a system to monitor the performance of the deployed machine learning solution. Regularly monitor the system to ensure its stability and continued performance. Maintain the model by retraining it periodically or addressing any issues that may arise.

In summary, a machine learning project involves multiple steps, starting from defining the objective and gathering data to model development, evaluation, deployment, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Each step is crucial for the successful deployment of a machine learning solution.

Q4: What are some of the innovations that are happening in machine learning research? Are there any problems or opportunities for further advancement in this field?

A: Dr. Ha highlights several recent innovations in machine learning research. One notable development is in the area of generative AI, with models like ChatGPT that can generate synthetic images or text that closely resemble those created by humans. This advancement has opened up new possibilities for generating artificial intelligence that appears more human-like.

There have also been advancements in the underlying architectures of machine learning models. Innovations such as diffusion models and transformers have emerged as new foundations for building advanced machine learning or deep learning models.

In terms of explainability, researchers have been focusing on developing techniques to make machine learning models more interpretable. Explainability and interpretability help users understand why a particular outcome or prediction was generated by the model. These techniques aim to provide transparency and insights into the decision-making process of the model.

Privacy-preserving machine learning has also gained attention as a way to address concerns about data privacy. With the increasing use of sensitive and personal data in machine learning, privacy-preserving techniques have been developed to protect user privacy while still allowing the model to learn from the data.

Another area of ongoing research is quantum machine learning. Quantum machine learning aims to leverage quantum computing to speed up the training and prediction processes in machine learning models. This field holds promise for enhancing the efficiency and capabilities of machine learning algorithms.

In summary, there have been significant innovations in machine learning research in recent years. These include advancements in generative AI, model architectures, explainability, privacy-preserving techniques, and quantum machine learning. Further advancements in these areas hold the potential for continued progress and improved capabilities in machine learning.

Q5: Could you explain the difference between machine learning and deep learning?

A: Dr. Ha explains that deep learning is a subfield of machine learning. Machine learning, as mentioned before, is a subset of AI. In machine learning, mathematical models are used to learn from data. Deep learning, on the other hand, refers to a specific type of machine learning that utilizes deep neural networks. These networks are complex and comprehensive models that can capture intricate patterns and relationships in the data. While deep learning is a part of machine learning, it involves the use of deeper and more complex models compared to traditional machine learning approaches.

Q6. What are the careers that students can explore in machine learning? How can they succeed in this industry?

A: According to Dr. Ha, students interested in machine learning have a variety of career options at their disposal. Some of these are:

  1. Machine Learning Engineer: As a machine learning engineer, students will be tasked with developing, deploying, and maintaining machine learning models within a company. This role is a combination of development and engineering, centered around implementing and optimizing machine learning models.
  2. Data Scientist: Data scientists focus on working with and exploring data. They build predictive models to help understand and make informed decisions based on the data at hand.
  3. Research Scientist: This role is focused more on the theoretical side of machine learning. As a research scientist, students would develop new machine learning models or learning algorithms, and publish their findings in research papers, conferences, or journals. This role requires a deep understanding of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  4. Machine Learning Consultant: A machine learning consultant works closely with businesses to identify whether machine learning can help solve specific problems. They collaborate with stakeholders to initiate machine learning projects, set project objectives, and figure out how to kick off machine learning projects in the company.

To prepare for a career in machine learning, Dr. Ha suggests the following:

  1. Foundational Knowledge: Machine learning is grounded in mathematics and statistical models. To develop machine learning models, students need to have a solid foundation in mathematics. This foundational knowledge also extends to programming languages like Python, which are commonly used in machine learning.
  2. Knowledge of Specific Machine Learning Techniques: There are many machine learning techniques available today, from classification problems to generative models. Students should strive to learn these techniques, progressing from basic to advanced levels.
  3. Hands-on Experience: Having practical experience in developing machine learning models is invaluable. Websites that provide public datasets can be useful for hands-on learning.
  4. Follow Influencers and Latest Research: Keeping up-to-date with new innovations and technologies in machine learning is crucial. Following influencers in the field and reading recent research can aid in this.
  5. Develop Soft Skills: Being able to interact effectively with stakeholders and understanding their needs for a machine learning project is important.
  6. Continual Learning: The field of machine learning is always evolving. Students should adopt a mindset of continuous learning to stay updated and become future experts in the field.

Dr. Ha emphasizes that succeeding in the field of machine learning requires a combination of technical knowledge, practical experience, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Podcast Host: Amit Ahuja, Associate Director, Communications & Digital, Zista Education
Podcast Guest: Dr. Huong Ha, Lecturer, Computer Science & Information Technology, RMIT University, Australia
Video & Audio Editing: Raj Soni, Communications Associate, Zista Education
Podcast Manager: Russel Aldridge, Sr. Manager, Creative & Digital, Zista Education
Podcast Transcript: Tanya Kakka, Freelance Copywriter