Technology that can mimic and improve on the cognitive abilities of human brain has been the stuff of dystopian movie storylines for decades. But for large companies and research labs, such artificial intelligence has been a longstanding pursuit for both day-to-day and groundbreaking uses. Now, a specific breakthrough in AI — deep learning — is allowing business to use the vast amounts of newly available data to teach computers how to learn.

Deep learning uses layers of algorithms known as neural networks, which are designed to loosely represent the layers of the human brain. These algorithms allow machines to learn patterns. By feeding a computer tons of sample data and identifying what that data represents, the computer can then begin to make inferences from new data presented.

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