Explained: The difference between AI and ML, through Minions

Explained: The difference between AI and ML, through Minions

Written by Experts at ISET

Here’s an article that makes you understand the difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with ease.

Yes, it’s as easy as saying BANANAA!

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two commonly used buzzwords in the tech industry.

Sometimes, they’re used interchangeably and you just can’t wrap your head around which is which. So, let’s get started with simple definitions.

Artificial Intelligence refers to creating machines that can think and perform tasks like humans.

Machine Learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence that relies on data to find patterns.

Didn’t grasp that?

No worries. Here’s a simpler way to understand the definitions.


Let’s consider a situation in which you have to train these adorable minions to find candy in a maze.

The minions have no knowledge or experience in locating candy or any object. You have to train them.

Now, there are two ways in which you can teach them to locate the candy.

You can ask them to blindly run along the maze and hit every possible path. Then, you can collect all this data and ask them to find patterns, or the precise routes that lead to the candy and the ones that don’t.

So, the next time you let them into the maze, they’ll know how to find the candy because they learned to navigate the maze in the past.

You can teach them how to navigate a maze and trust that they can find all the candy.

#1 will work as long as the candies are hidden in the same spots. If you change the location of the candies, the minions won’t be able to find them.

This is because they were taught to find a pattern i.e. the routes that led and didn’t lead to the candy. When the location of the candy changes, the pattern and routes change.

So, you’ll have to ask your minions to go on trial runs if you want them to locate the candy again.

Your minions will have to keep doing this every time the position of the candy or the maze itself is changed.

#2 will work regardless of the position of the candy and the type of the maze because you taught them how to navigate a maze.

So, they’ll apply this knowledge and find their way through obstacles to reach the candy just like we humans would.

The first example shows how Machine Learning works whereas the second example explains how AI works.

Machine Learning relies on past experience from data to identify patterns.

Artificial Intelligence uses the same past experience to acquire knowledge and learn how to apply it to similar situations in the future.

From the above example, it seems like AI is more efficient. But companies use Machine Learning more often. Why is that?

Both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have different applications.

Netflix recommends shows you’re most likely to watch based on your watch history and the watch history of others who watched the same movie.

In this case, Machine Learning models look for patterns in the movies watched by users to provide recommendations to users. This is also how YouTube and Amazon suggest videos and products that you like.

Artificial Intelligence is employed in digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google to help them understand natural human speech better.

Self-driving cars and many other technologies that seem straight out of a sci-fi movie also use Artificial Intelligence.

In short, the difference between Machine Learning and AI is that Machine Learning relies on past experience to form patterns.

Artificial Intelligence uses the same experience to acquire knowledge and skills. Both have varied applications.

Congratulations! You learned the major difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning through adorable minions!

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We’d love to hear what piqued your interest in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Is it because of all the buzz? Or is it because of a cool piece of fiction? Maybe your professor keeps talking about it? Do let us know in the comments below!