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Different Types of Machine Learning: Exploring the Core of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As outlined in the 2023 Future of Jobs Report, there is an anticipated growth of 40%, equivalent to 1 million jobs, in the demand for specialists in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This surge is attributed to the ongoing transformation within industries propelled by the widespread adoption of AI and ML technologies.


The ML field is experiencing a swift increase in the demand for proficient professionals. An escalating number of enterprises are seeking to harness the capabilities of ML for extracting insights from data and creating innovative AI-based products and services. So, get ready to traverse the landscapes where algorithms transform data into knowledge, paving the way for a future where machines not only follow instructions but become adept at forging their own paths in the ever-expanding universe of artificial intelligence.


Table of Contents:



What is Machine Learning?


Machine learning, a captivating subfield of artificial intelligence (AI), has emerged as a revolutionary technology that empowers machines to perform tasks previously considered exclusive to human capabilities. By harnessing the power of algorithms trained on vast datasets, machine learning enables computers to create models that can categorise images, analyse data, and predict outcomes with remarkable accuracy.


What Are the Different Types of Machine Learning?


Machine learning encompasses various approaches, each tailored to address distinct challenges and tasks. On the basis of the ways of learning and methods, the following are the types of machine learning:


  • Supervised learning, 
  • Unsupervised learning,
  • Semi-supervised learning and 
  • Reinforcement learning.


Let us learn about each one of them individually, talking about how they work, their classification, application, and advantages and disadvantages.


1. Supervised Learning

Supervised machine learning operates on the principle of guidance and labelled datasets. In this technique, the machines are trained using a “labelled” dataset, where each input is paired with its corresponding output. The term “supervised” stems from the overseeing nature of this process, as the algorithm learns by being provided with explicit examples of input-output relationships during training. In essence, the machine is taught to recognise patterns and associations within the labelled data, enabling it to make predictions or classifications when presented with new, unseen data. 


          Categories of Supervised Machine Learning


          The primary categories of supervised machine learning include:


    • Classification:

      Classification is one of the most common tasks in supervised learning. In this category, the algorithm is trained to predict the categorical class or label of a given input. For example, email spam detection is a classic classification problem, where the algorithm categorises emails as either spam or non-spam based on previously labelled data.

    • Regression:

      Regression deals with predicting numerical values or continuous outcomes. In this category, the algorithm learns to establish a relationship between input variables and a continuous target variable. Common applications include predicting house prices based on features like square footage, number of bedrooms, etc.


        Applications of Supervised Learning


    • Image Segmentation:

      Supervised Learning algorithms are employed for image segmentation. This involves performing image classification on different image data with pre-defined labels.

    • Medical Diagnosis:

      Supervised algorithms play a crucial role in medical diagnosis. Utilising medical images and past labelled data with disease conditions, machines can identify diseases for new patients.

    • Fraud Detection:

      Supervised Learning classification algorithms are utilised for identifying fraudulent transactions and customers. Historic data is analysed to identify patterns indicative of potential fraud.

    • Spam Detection:

      Classification algorithms in Supervised Learning are used for spam detection and filtering in emails. Emails are classified as spam or not spam, streamlining inbox management.

    • Speech Recognition:

      Supervised learning algorithms contribute to speech recognition applications. Trained with voice data, these algorithms enable various identifications, such as voice-activated passwords and voice commands.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Supervised Learning




  • Labelled Dataset:

    Supervised learning operates with a labelled dataset, providing clear information about the classes of objects. This ensures a precise understanding of the data.

  • Predictive Accuracy:

    These algorithms excel at predicting output based on prior experience. The knowledge gained from labelled data enables accurate predictions in various applications.




  • Limited Complexity:

    Supervised learning may struggle with solving complex tasks. The simplicity of these algorithms might be insufficient for addressing intricate problems that require more advanced approaches.

  • Limited Generalization:

    If the test data significantly differs from the training data, supervised learning may yield inaccurate predictions. The models might not generalise well to unseen scenarios.

  • Computational Intensity:

    Training supervised learning algorithms often demands substantial computational time. The process can be resource-intensive, particularly when dealing with large datasets or complex models.


2. Unsupervised Learning


Unsupervised machine learning, in stark contrast to supervised learning, operates without the need for explicit supervision or labelled datasets. This technique involves training the machine using unlabeled data, where the algorithm explores patterns and relationships without predefined output categories. In unsupervised learning, the models are exposed to unclassified and unlabeled data, allowing them to identify inherent structures and correlations autonomously. This absence of supervision distinguishes unsupervised learning as a method for extracting meaningful insights from data without prior knowledge of the expected outcomes.


Categories of Unsupervised Machine Learning


The primary categories include:


  • Clustering:

    Clustering involves grouping similar data points together based on certain features or characteristics. K-means clustering, hierarchical clustering, and DBSCAN are common algorithms used for tasks like customer segmentation, image segmentation, and anomaly detection.

  • Association:

    Association rules mining identifies relationships or associations among items in a dataset. This is often used in market basket analysis, where the goal is to discover patterns like “customers who buy product A are likely to buy product B.”


Applications of Unsupervised Learning


Unsupervised learning plays a pivotal role in various applications, showcasing its ability to discern patterns and extract meaningful insights from unlabeled data. Here are some notable applications:


  • Network Analysis:

    Unsupervised learning is instrumental in network analysis, particularly for identifying plagiarism and copyright issues in scholarly articles. By analysing the document network, it helps maintain the integrity of academic content.

  • Recommendation Systems:

    Widely employed in recommendation systems, unsupervised learning techniques are pivotal for building personalised recommendation applications. Whether in web applications or e-commerce websites, these systems analyse user behaviour to provide tailored suggestions, enhancing user experience.

  • Anomaly Detection:

    Unsupervised learning is a key player in anomaly detection, a critical application for identifying unusual data points within a dataset. This capability is crucial in various domains, particularly in finance, where it helps uncover fraudulent transactions and irregularities.

  • Singular Value Decomposition (SVD):

    SVD is utilised in unsupervised learning to extract specific information from databases. For instance, it can be applied to extract user-related information based on location. This method allows for efficient data compression and feature extraction, enhancing the interpretability of complex datasets.


These applications highlight the versatility of unsupervised learning in uncovering patterns, structuring information, and providing valuable insights, making it a valuable tool in various industries and domains.


Advantages and Disadvantages of  Unsupervised Learning




  • Handling Complexity:

    Unsupervised learning is well-suited for handling complex tasks compared to supervised methods. Its adaptability to unlabeled datasets allows it to uncover intricate patterns and relationships.

  • Ease of Dataset Acquisition:

    Unsupervised algorithms are preferable for various tasks, as obtaining an unlabeled dataset is often easier compared to acquiring a labelled one. This flexibility enhances the applicability of unsupervised learning.




  • Reduced Accuracy:

    The output of unsupervised algorithms may be less accurate as the dataset lacks labels. Without explicit guidance, the algorithms may produce results that are not as precise as those obtained through supervised learning.

  • Challenges in Implementation:

    Implementing unsupervised learning is more challenging compared to supervised learning. Working with unlabeled datasets introduces ambiguity, making it difficult to establish a direct mapping between input and output, which can hinder the learning process.


3. Semi-Supervised Learning


Semi-supervised learning, positioned at the intersection of supervised and unsupervised machine learning, presents a nuanced approach to algorithmic training. In this method, the algorithm grapples with a dataset that incorporates both labelled and unlabeled instances, providing a pragmatic compromise between the resource-intensive nature of acquiring labelled data and the information-rich potential of unlabeled datasets.


While it predominantly operates in an environment rich in unlabeled data, the inclusion of a few labelled instances allows the algorithm to refine its predictions with a limited set of known outcomes. This middle ground becomes particularly relevant in scenarios where acquiring labelled data is costly or impractical, such as in corporate settings.


Categories of Semi-Supervised Machine Learning


The main categories within semi-supervised learning include:


  • Self-training:

    Self-training involves initially training a model on the limited labelled data available and then using this model to predict labels for unlabeled data. The predicted labels are then added to the training set, and the model is retrained iteratively. This process continues until a satisfactory performance is achieved.

  • Label Propagation:

    Propagating labels across unlabelled observations, label propagation algorithms assign labels over time, typically within a graph neural network framework. Initiated with a small portion of the dataset already labelled, this method allocates labels based on direct connections between data points in the graph. Label propagation proves valuable for swiftly identifying communities, pinpointing abnormal behaviour, or expediting marketing campaigns.


Applications of Semi-Supervised Learning


  • Text Categorization:

    Semi-supervised learning is applied to text categorisation tasks, offering a flexible approach to handling vast amounts of unlabeled text data.

  • Customer Segmentation:

    In marketing analytics, semi-supervised learning is employed for customer segmentation. This involves categorising customers into distinct groups based on various features, allowing businesses to tailor their strategies more effectively.

  • Sentiment Analysis:

    Semi-supervised learning techniques are utilised for sentiment analysis in social media and customer reviews. By leveraging both labelled and unlabeled data, algorithms can discern sentiment trends and opinions more comprehensively.

  • Document Summarisation:

    Semi-supervised learning plays a role in document summarisation, where the algorithm analyses a mix of labelled and unlabeled text data to generate concise and meaningful summaries.

  • Credit Scoring:

    In finance, semi-supervised learning aids in credit scoring by incorporating both labelled and unlabeled data to assess the creditworthiness of individuals. This approach enhances the predictive power of credit scoring models.

  • Product Recommendations:

    E-commerce platforms leverage semi-supervised learning for product recommendations. By combining labelled data on customer preferences with unlabeled data, these systems offer more personalised and accurate product suggestions.


These applications illustrate the versatility of semi-supervised learning in diverse domains, where leveraging both labelled and unlabeled data enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of machine learning algorithms.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Semi-Supervised Learning




  • Simplicity and Understandability:

    Semi-supervised learning offers a simple and easily understandable algorithm, making it accessible for users to comprehend and implement.

  • High Efficiency:

    The algorithm is highly efficient, allowing for swift processing and effective handling of data. This efficiency contributes to improved performance in various applications.

  • Drawback Resolution:

    It serves as a solution to the drawbacks found in both Supervised and Unsupervised Learning algorithms. By combining labelled and unlabeled data, semi-supervised learning harnesses the strengths of both paradigms, offering a versatile and effective approach.




  • Instability in Iterations:

    One of the disadvantages of semi-supervised learning is the potential instability in iteration results. The outcomes may vary across iterations, introducing uncertainty into the learning process.

  • Inapplicability to Network-Level Data:

    These algorithms are not suitable for handling network-level data. The limitations of semi-supervised learning make it less effective when dealing with intricate network structures.

  • Lower Accuracy:

    Accuracy may be lower compared to fully supervised learning approaches. The integration of unlabeled data introduces challenges in achieving high precision levels, impacting the overall accuracy of the algorithm in certain scenarios.


4. Reinforcement Learning


Reinforcement learning constitutes a dynamic paradigm within the field of machine learning, characterised by a feedback-driven process that mirrors the learning mechanisms observed in living organisms. In this approach, an artificial intelligence agent, typically a software component, engages with its environment through a continuous cycle of exploration and trial-and-error. The agent takes actions, learns from the outcomes of those actions, and iteratively refines its strategies to improve performance. Crucially, reinforcement learning operates without the presence of labelled data, distinguishing it from supervised learning.


Categories of Reinforcement Machine Learning


Reinforcement learning can be broadly classified into two main types of methods or algorithms:


  • Positive Reinforcement Learning

    This method involves enhancing the likelihood of a desired behaviour recurring by introducing positive elements. Adding something beneficial strengthens the agent’s behaviour and has a positive impact.


  • Negative Reinforcement Learning

    In contrast to positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement learning operates by preventing negative conditions, thereby increasing the likelihood of a particular behaviour recurring. This approach aims to reinforce the behaviour through the avoidance of adverse consequences.


Applications of Reinforcement Learning


Reinforcement Learning (RL) stands as a dynamic force with diverse applications, showcasing its adaptability in tackling complex challenges across various domains. Some notable applications include:


  • Video Games:

    RL algorithms have garnered significant popularity in the gaming industry, enabling machines to achieve super-human performance. Games like AlphaGO and AlphaGO Zero serve as prime examples, demonstrating the capability of RL to master complex strategies and decision-making in competitive environments.

  • Resource Management:

    The application of RL extends to resource management, as demonstrated by the “Resource Management with Deep Reinforcement Learning” paper. This showcases how RL algorithms can be employed to autonomously learn and schedule resources for different jobs, minimising average job slowdown in computer systems.

  • Robotics:

    In the realm of robotics, RL is making substantial contributions. Particularly in industrial and manufacturing settings, robots are becoming more powerful and efficient through the integration of reinforcement learning. Industries are envisioning the development of intelligent robots, leveraging AI and machine learning technologies to enhance their capabilities.

  • Text Mining:

    Reinforcement Learning is now making strides in the field of text mining, a prominent application of Natural Language Processing (NLP). Companies like Salesforce are implementing RL to optimise text-mining processes, demonstrating its potential to improve language understanding and extraction of meaningful insights from textual data.


The continuous evolution of RL is poised to drive innovation across numerous industries, offering solutions to challenges that require adaptive learning and decision-making capabilities.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Reinforcement Learning




  • Solving Complex Real-World Problems:

    Reinforcement learning excels in tackling complex real-world problems that are challenging for general techniques. Its adaptive nature allows it to navigate intricate scenarios effectively.

  • Human-Like Learning Model:

    The learning model of reinforcement learning closely mimics human learning, leading to more accurate results. This similarity enhances the adaptability and efficiency of RL algorithms.

  • Achieving Long-Term Results:

    Reinforcement learning is well-suited for tasks that require achieving long-term results. Its ability to consider future rewards and consequences makes it effective in scenarios where sustained performance is crucial.




  • Less Effective for Simple Problems:

    RL algorithms are not preferred for addressing simple problems, as their complexity may outweigh the benefits in such cases.

  • Data and Computational Requirements:

    Reinforcement learning demands substantial amounts of data and computational resources, making it resource-intensive and limiting its applicability in scenarios with data constraints.

  • Overload of States:

    Excessive reinforcement learning can lead to an overload of states, potentially weakening the results. Managing a large number of states can become a challenge in certain applications.

  • Curse of Dimensionality:

    The curse of dimensionality places limitations on reinforcement learning for real physical systems. As the dimensionality of the problem increases, the complexity of RL algorithms also grows, impacting their practical utility in real-world applications.


Wrapping Up


The pervasive influence of machine learning on our technological landscape cannot be overstated. As we navigate the digital age, its significance becomes increasingly pronounced, permeating various facets of our lives, from predictive analytics to personalised recommendations. The ability of machines to learn, adapt, and innovate autonomously signifies not just a technological revolution but a paradigm shift in our understanding of artificial intelligence.


To unlock the full potential of this transformative force, consider taking a plunge into the world of machine learning through courses at Hero Vired. Elevate your skills, embrace the future, and become an architect of the AI-powered world. Enrol in the Accelerator Program in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Hero Vired and be at the forefront of the next technological frontier.


There are four types of machine learning algorithms: supervised, semi-supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement.
Machine Learning encompasses two primary learning approaches: supervised learning and unsupervised learning.
Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, facilitates the automatic learning and improvement of a machine or system through experience. It employs algorithms, rather than explicit programming, to scrutinise extensive datasets, extract insights, and subsequently make informed decisions.
Machine learning (ML) falls under the umbrella of artificial intelligence (AI) and empowers the accurate prediction of outcomes, even without explicit programming in your application software.
According to Analytics Insight, it's usually best to start with the simplest model suited to the problem and then gradually increase the complexity.  Here are some types of machine learning:
  • Supervised learning
  • Unsupervised learning
  • Linear regression
  • Decision tree

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