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AI Lexicon — M

Published May 17, 2024last updated May 17, 2024

Do you know your AI from your ML? Or your facial recognition from your Ethical AI? Our AI Lexicon offers easy-to-understand definitions and examples of AI in everyday life. It really is what you need to know.

DW Science | AI Lexicon by Zulfikar Abbany
Did you know there's a M in 'machine' and 'human'Image: Ayse Tasci-Steinebach/DW

Machine learning (ML)

Generally considered a sub-field of artificial intelligence. Some experts refer to machine learning as a separate field of AI. Others use the two terms — AI and ML — interchangeably.

At a technical level, machine learning technology is initially programed by humans, like basic AI. But ML computer systems can improve their performance over time as they learn from their own experience. MLs use various techniques to learn, including deep learning, supervised learning and unsupervised learning. (za/fs)

Minsky, Marvin (1927-2016)

A mathematician, cognitive psychologist and computer scientist, Marvin Minsky is considered one of the originators and pioneers of artificial intelligence. 

Minsky built the first neural network simulator, known as SNARC. He researched robotics, co-developed the "Muse" synthesizer, and worked towards "imparting to machines the human capacity for commonsense reasoning," as his MIT Media Lab biography puts it. Minsky's won a number of awards and prizes for his work. His books include The Emotion Machine and the seminal The Society of Mind. He died in 2016 at the age of 88 years. (zs/fs)


Coming soon:

Machine learning bias
Machine translation


The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation (Miles Brundage et al, 2017) https://maliciousaireport.com/ (accessed July 24, 2023)

Machine Learning Glossary (Google) https://developers.google.com/machine-learning/glossary (accessed July 24, 2023)

The History of Artificial Intelligence https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/history-artificial-intelligence/ (accessed July 24, 2023)

Marvin Minsky (MIT Media Lab and MIT AI Lab) https://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/ (accessed August 3, 2023)

Marvin Minsky, 'father of artificial intelligence,' dies at 88 https://news.mit.edu/2016/marvin-minsky-obituary-0125 (accessed August 3, 2023)

Read the rest of DW's AI Lexicon:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

We're keen to hear your feedback. Suggest an entry by sending us a comment. And let us know if you feel we have missed something, got it wrong, and tell us whether our AI Lexicon has helped you understand the technology better.

Written and edited by: Zulfikar Abbany (za), Fred Schwaller (fs)

DW Zulfikar Abbany
Zulfikar Abbany Senior editor fascinated by space, AI and the mind, and how science touches people
DW journalist Fred Schwaller wears a white T-shirt and jeans.
Fred Schwaller Science writer fascinated by the brain and the mind, and how science influences society@schwallerfred