How To Implement A Self-Learning System That Improves Over Time

by | Dec 12, 2022 | artificial intelligence, Data Science, Machine Learning

What is a self-learning system?

A self-learning system is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) system that is able to improve its performance over time. In essence, it can do this without the need for explicit programming or supervision. A self-learning system is typically achieved through the use of machine learning algorithms. The right machine learning algorithms allow the system to automatically learn from data and experiences. This allows them to adapt to new situations and tasks.

Self-learning systems can be used for various purposes, including natural language processing, computer vision, and decision-making. They are often used in applications where it is difficult or impractical to explicitly program the system to perform a specific task or where the task or environment may change over time, requiring the system to adapt and improve its performance.

A self-learning system is part of AI

A self-learning system is part of AI

Self-learning systems are an essential part of the field of AI. They are often used in combination with other AI techniques. Other techniques include rule-based and expert systems to create more powerful and versatile AI applications.

How do you create a self-learning system?

1. Define the problem and goal of the self-learning system

The first step in implementing a self-learning system is to clearly define the problem and purpose that the system is intended to solve. This will typically involve identifying the system’s inputs, outputs, and objectives, as well as the constraints and assumptions that will guide its design and development.

2. Select and implement a machine learning algorithm

Once the problem and goal of the self-learning system have been defined, the next step is to select and implement a machine learning algorithm that is appropriate for the task at hand. This may involve selecting a supervised, unsupervised, or reinforcement learning algorithm, depending on the specific characteristics and requirements of the problem.

3. Collect and preprocess the training data

For the self-learning system to learn and improve its performance, it will need access to a large and diverse dataset of training data. This data should be carefully collected and preprocessed to ensure that it is accurate, relevant, and representative of the task or environment in which the system will operate.

4. Train and evaluate the self-learning system

Once the training data has been prepared, the next step is to use it to train the self-learning system. This will typically involve using a portion of the training data for training and the remainder for validation and evaluation. The performance of the self-learning system should be carefully monitored and evaluated during training in order to identify and address any issues or problems.

5. Deploy and update the self-learning system

Once the self-learning system has been trained and evaluated, it can be deployed in a real-world setting, where it will continue to learn and improve its performance over time. This can either be in real-time or in a scheduled manner. Data can be re-ingested into the training phase of the model as it’s coming into the system, or the model can be periodically retrained. How often you re-train your model will depend on the type of data coming in, the computational complexity and the time required to update the model.

6. Monitor and fine-tune the self-learning system

The self-learning system should be continuously and automatically monitored for performance. Put alerts in place to be sent once the system is no longer performing optimally. Tweak the system whenever required.

Advantages of a self-learning system

Self-learning systems have several advantages over traditional AI systems.

1. They can improve their performance over time

One of the critical advantages of self-learning systems is that they can improve their performance over time. And this without the need for explicit programming or supervision. This is because they use machine learning algorithms, which allow them to learn from data and experience and adapt to new situations and tasks.

An everyday use case where improvement over time is critical is information security. New threats and hacks occur every day, so staying up-to-date on data is crucial for an excellent first line of defence. Detecting a new threat early can stop entire systems from going down.

2. They can handle complex and dynamic environments

Self-learning systems are well-suited to complex and dynamic environments where the task or environment may change over time. Because they can learn and adapt to new situations, they are able to handle a wide range of functions and scenarios without the need for explicit programming or supervision. 

A use case with ever-changing dynamics is natural language processing. Language is never static, and new words, phrases, and terms are invented all the time. This has never been more apparent than when monitoring social media. New slang circulates daily, making it impossible for static models to understand trends or take action accordingly.

3. They require less human intervention

Because self-learning systems can improve their performance over time, they require less human intervention than traditional AI systems. This can save time and resources and allow human experts to focus on more critical or complex tasks.

All machine learning models drift over time; they become outdated because the data they were trained on has become outdated. For more optimal performance, systems need to be retrained regularly. Most companies don’t have the capacity to do this, and so their systems deteriorate over time.

4. They can provide more accurate and reliable results

Self-learning systems are able to learn from data and experience. They can therefore provide more precise and reliable results than traditional AI systems. This can be especially important in applications where the task or environment may change over time. It is especially important where it is crucial to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the system’s output. 

Document and text processing often involves looking for crucial information. However, this needs to be better defined. Critical information often depends on the context in which it is given. To guarantee accurate extractions over time, it’s essential to keep learning what key information is. A way to learn this is to keep feeding information back into the system with a feedback loop. This makes sure new training data gets ingested constantly.

Overall, self-learning systems offer many advantages over traditional AI systems and are an essential part of the field of AI. They are well-suited to complex and dynamic environments and can provide more accurate and reliable results with less human intervention.

Disadvantages of self-learning system

There are several disadvantages to self-learning systems.

  1. They can be expensive to implement as they require a large amount of data and computing power to train.
  2. They can be difficult to understand and interpret, which can make it challenging to identify and address potential problems or biases in the system. They might worsen some problems as you effectively train on unseen data. See the curse of dimensionality for one such problem.
  3. They can be slow to adapt to new data or changes in the environment, which can limit their effectiveness in rapidly changing situations.
  4. They can be susceptible to errors or biases in the data used to train them, which can lead to incorrect or undesirable outcomes.
  5. They can be challenging to integrate with other systems, which can limit their ability to collaborate and work effectively with other technologies.
  6. They still need monitoring to ensure accuracy; although they will require less work to maintain, they aren’t entirely hands-off.

Use cases of self-learning system

Self-learning systems can be used in a wide variety of applications, including the following:

1. Document processing

Self-learning systems can be trained to understand documents like humans do and are capable of extracting crucial information. This frees up employees from reading documents to find essential information and instead lets them focus on taking appropriate actions.

2. Automated customer service

Self-learning systems can be trained to understand and respond to customer inquiries, freeing up human customer service representatives to handle more complex or specialized tasks.

3. Predictive maintenance

Self-learning systems can be used to monitor and analyze data from industrial equipment, identifying patterns and anomalies that can indicate potential issues before they cause problems.

4. Fraud detection

Self-learning systems can be trained to detect patterns and anomalies in financial transactions that may show fraudulent activity, allowing financial institutions to flag and investigate suspicious transactions in real-time.

5. Personalization

Self-learning systems can be used to personalize online experiences, such as by recommending products or content based on an individual user’s preferences and behaviours.

Supply chain optimization: Self-learning systems can be used to analyze data from various sources within a supply chain, identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies that can be addressed to improve overall performance.

Self-learning systems at Spot Intelligence

There is a long list of advantages and disadvantages to consider before embarking on constructing a self-learning system. At Spot Intelligence, we always find building self-learning systems highly beneficial. It frees us up to focus on other projects while still knowing that the models we have built will keep performing well on new data.

Our clients have been amazed at how robust our systems have adapted to change. This is all due to the self-learning strategy we have built as a business. Proper design and planning for the future do pay off.

We must remember that AI implementations aren’t built to solve current problems. They also guarantee competitiveness going into the future. Building self-learning systems is the way forward. It doesn’t have to be difficult with the proper infrastructure and people in place to deal with the challenges.

Are you running self-learning systems? Or do you see the advantages of having them, or has the implementation process been daunting? Let us know in the comments, and we would love to share your experiences or help you out.

About the Author

Neri Van Otten

Neri Van Otten

Neri Van Otten is the founder of Spot Intelligence, a machine learning engineer with over 12 years of experience specialising in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and deep learning innovation. Dedicated to making your projects succeed.

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