If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
With growing interest in neural networks and deep learning, individuals and companies are claiming ever-increasing adoption rates of artificial intelligence into their daily workflows and product offerings. Coupled with breakneck speeds in AI-research, the new wave of popularity shows a lot of promise for solving some of the harder problems out there. That said, I feel that this field suffers from a gulf between appreciating these developments and subsequently deploying them to solve "real-world" tasks. A number of frameworks, tutorials and guides have popped up to democratize machine learning, but the steps that they prescribe often don't align with the fuzzier problems that need to be solved. This post is a collection of questions (with some (maybe even incorrect) answers) that are worth thinking about when applying machine learning in production.
At Criteo, machine learning lies at the core of our business. We use machine learning for choosing when we want to display ads as well as for personalized product recommendations and for optimizing the look & feel of our banners (as we automatically generate our own banners for each partner using our catalog of products). Our motto at Criteo is "Performance is everything" and to deliver the best performance we can, we've built a large scale distributed machine learning framework, called Irma, that we use in production and for running experiments when we search for improvements on our models. In the past, performance advertising was all about predicting clicks. That was a while ago.