AI Showdown: Machine Learning vs Deep Learning - How to Pick Your Winner?

Can't decide between Machine Learning & Deep Learning for your business? Discover the differences and strategize on how to pick the right one for your organization. A comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.

Published on:

April 29, 2024

Machine Learning and Deep Learning are two buzzwords that have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing. While both are subsets of artificial intelligence, they are actually quite different and have their own unique characteristics and applications. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between Machine Learning and Deep Learning, and discuss how a company might go about choosing between the two.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning is a method of teaching computers to learn and make decisions based on data, without being explicitly programmed. It involves feeding large amounts of data into an algorithm, which then uses that data to learn and make predictions or decisions. There are three main types of Machine Learning: Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning, and Reinforcement Learning.

Supervised learning involves training a model on labeled data, where the correct output is provided for each example in the training set. For example, a supervised learning algorithm might be trained on a dataset of images of dogs and cats, where each image is labeled as either a dog or a cat. The algorithm would then use this labeled data to learn how to classify new images as either dogs or cats.

Unsupervised learning involves training a model on unlabeled data, where the correct output is not provided. Instead, the model must learn to identify patterns and relationships in the data on its own. One example of unsupervised learning is clustering, where the model groups similar data points together.

Reinforcement learning involves training a model to make decisions in a dynamic environment in order to maximize a reward. It is often used in autonomous systems, such as self-driving cars or robots.

What is Deep Learning?

Deep learning is a subset of Machine Learning that involves training Artificial Neural Networks on a large dataset. A Neural Network is a computer system modeled after the structure and function of the human brain, and it is capable of learning and making decisions on its own. Deep learning algorithms consist of several layers of artificial neural networks, each layer responsible for extracting different levels of features from the input data. These layers are called hidden layers and the number of layers and the number of neurons in each layer are the main factors that make Deep Learning architectures different from traditional Machine Learning models. One of the main benefits of Deep Learning is its ability to learn and generalize from the data, which allows it to make predictions on new, unseen data. This is particularly useful for problems where the data is complex and varied, where traditional Machine Learning models may struggle to achieve accurate results. They’re particularly well-suited for tasks such as image and speech recognition, natural language processing, and predictive analytics. They’ve been used to achieve state-of-the-art results in many areas, including computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing. Deep learning models can also be pre-trained on large data sets, and then fine-tuned for specific tasks, which can save time and resources compared to training a model from scratch.

One of the most important advances in Deep Learning is the development of the transformer which has become a popular choice for natural language processing tasks, it's based on the attention mechanism which allows the model to selectively focus on different parts of the input data, rather than processing the entire input at once. This allows the model to learn complex relationships between the input and output, and to generate more accurate and coherent text. Another important advance in Deep Learning is the development of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). GANs are a class of generative models that are able to generate new data samples that are similar to the training data. GANs have been used to generate realistic images, videos, and audio, and have been used to achieve state-of-the-art results in tasks such as image synthesis, image-to-image translation, and style transfer.

What works for you?

When it comes to choosing between Machine Learning and Deep Learning, there are a few key factors that a company should consider. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  1. Type of data: Machine learning algorithms can handle both structured and unstructured data, while Deep Learning algorithms are better suited for handling large amounts of unstructured data, such as images, audio, and text. If the company has a large amount of unstructured data that they need to analyze, Deep Learning might be the better choice.
  1. The complexity of the task: Deep learning algorithms can handle more complex tasks than traditional Machine Learning algorithms, but they also require more computational resources and time to train. If the task at hand is relatively simple, a traditional machine-learning algorithm might be sufficient. On the other hand, if the task is more complex and requires the ability to learn and make decisions on its own, Deep Learning might be a better fit.
  1. Available resources: Deep learning algorithms require large amounts of data and computational resources to train, so a company should consider whether they have the necessary resources before choosing a Deep Learning solution. If the company doesn't have access to a lot of data or computational power, Machine Learning might be a more practical choice.
  1. Expertise: Both Machine Learning and Deep Learning require a certain level of expertise to implement and tune properly. A company should consider whether they have the necessary in-house expertise or whether they will need to hire outside experts like Attri. Attri provides AI Blueprints which are reusable AI pipelines tailor-made for non-domain experts who intend to use AI. Attri’s Blueprints are powered by Attri’s AI Engine which is production-grade and facilitates you to work with your favorite tools.
  1. Business goals: Ultimately, the decision between Machine Learning and Deep Learning should be based on the company's business goals. What problem are they trying to solve, and which approach is most likely to help them achieve their goals? Companies should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each approach and consider how they align with their business objectives.
  1. Model interpretability and Responsibility: Machine learning models are often more interpretable than Deep Learning models, which can make it easier to understand how the model is making its predictions and identify potential issues. This is important for companies that need to understand and explain the reasoning behind the model's decisions.
  1. Flexibility: Machine learning is more flexible than Deep Learning, it can be applied to a wide range of problems and data types, while Deep Learning is typically more specialized and is only effective for certain types of problems. Machine learning algorithms are more adaptable to changing situations and can be easily updated while Deep Learning models are more difficult to update and retrain.
  1. Maintenance and updates: Deep learning models require regular updates and maintenance to keep them working effectively. Companies should consider whether they have the resources and expertise to maintain the model over time before choosing Deep Learning.

The First Steps

Getting started with Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) can seem daunting, here are some resources to help you get started.


Stanford’s Machine Learning Lecture Series - Andrew NG : Andrew NG’s Machine Learning teachings are considered as classics by the ML community. His classroom is a great place to start your learning journey.

DeepMind’s Lecture Series on Reinforcement Learning: This lecture series is created by Research Scientists at DeepMind (the company behind AlphaGo) themselves and gives a comprehensive introduction to Reinforcement Learning.

MIT’s Lecture Series on Deep Learning: This is a good steady introduction to hands-on Deep Learning organized by MIT.

Handy Resources

Machine Learning Mastery: The blog covers a wide range of topics, from the basics of Machine Learning and Deep Learning to advanced techniques and applications. It also provides tutorials and code examples to help readers implement and experiment with Machine Learning and Deep Learning models. is an open-source, non-profit organization that provides accessible and high-quality education in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). They provide a range of resources including tutorials, courses, and research papers, with a focus on making the latest AI and ML techniques accessible to anyone. 

Jay Alammar: The blog covers a wide range of topics, from the basics of transformer models to the most recent research and developments in the field. Jay uses a combination of text, illustrations, and code snippets to explain complex concepts in a clear and easy-to-understand way.

Tensorflow Playground: It is an interactive web-based tool for experimenting with neural networks. It allows users to easily create and train their own neural networks using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Helps with visualization and experimentation.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, Machine Learning and Deep Learning are two approaches to artificial intelligence that have their own unique characteristics and applications. While Deep Learning is well-suited for handling large amounts of unstructured data and solving complex tasks, it also requires more computational resources and expertise to implement. On the other hand, Machine Learning can handle both structured and unstructured data and is more suitable for simpler tasks. When deciding between Machine Learning and Deep Learning, a company should consider the type of data they are working with, the complexity of the task at hand, their available resources, and their level of expertise. It's also important to note that both ML and DL are constantly evolving and new techniques and models are being developed all the time, companies should stay updated with the latest research and developments to ensure that they are using the most current techniques and models.