Updated June 9, 2023
Difference Between Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics
Machine learning is the field of AI that uses statistics, fundamentals of computer science and mathematics to build logic for algorithms to perform the task such as prediction and classification whereas in predictive analytics the goal of the problems become narrow i.e. it intent to compute the value a particular variable at a future point of time, despite having common techniques like decision tree, random forest, logistic regression, etc. both of them are different in terms of coding orientation, origin, scope, tools, etc.
Machine learning internally uses statistics, mathematics, and computer science fundamentals to build logic for algorithms that can do classification, prediction, and optimization in both real times as well as batch mode. Classification and Regression are two main classes of a problem under machine learning. Let’s understand both Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics in detail.
Under these buckets of a problem, we tend to classify an object based on its various properties into one or more classes. For example, classifying a bank customer to be eligible for a home loan or not based on his/her credit history. Usually we would have transactional data available for the customer like his age, income, educational background, his work experience, industry in which he is working, number of dependents, monthly expenses, previous loans if any, his spending pattern, credit history, etc. and based on this information we would tend to calculate if he should be given loan or not.
There are many standard machine learning algorithms that are used to solve the classification problem. Logistic regression is one such method, probably most widely used and most well know, also the oldest. Apart from that we also have some of the most advanced and complicated models ranging from decision tree to random forest, AdaBoost, XP boost, support vector machines, naïve baize, and neural network. Since the last couple of years, deep learning is running at the forefront. Typically neural network and deep learning are used to classify images. If there are hundred thousand images of cats and dog and you want to write a code that can automatically separate images of cats and dog, you may want to go for deep learning methods like a convolutional neural network. Torch, cafe, sensor flow, etc. are some of the popular libraries in python to do deep learning.
To measure the accuracy of regression models, metrics like false positive rate, false-negative rate, sensitivity, etc. are used.
Regression is another class of problems in machine learning where we try to predict the continuous value of a variable instead of a class unlike in classification problems. Regression techniques are generally used to predict the share price of a stock, sale price of a house or car, a demand for a certain item, etc. When time-series properties also come into play, regression problems become very interesting to solve. Linear regression with ordinary least square is one of the classic machine learning algorithms in this domain. For time series based pattern, ARIMA, exponential moving average, weighted moving average, and simple moving average are used.
To measure the accuracy of regression models, metrics like to mean square error, absolute mean square error, root measure square error, etc. are used.
There are some areas of overlap between machine learning and predictive analytics. While common techniques like logistic and linear regression come under both machine learning and predictive analytics, advanced algorithms like a decision tree, random forest, etc. are essentially machine learning. Under predictive analytics, the goal of the problems remains very narrow where the intent is to compute the value of a particular variable at a future point of time. Predictive analytics is heavily statistics loaded while machine learning is more of a blend of statistics, programming, and mathematics. A typical predictive analyst spends his time computing t square, f statistics, Innova, chi-square or ordinary least square. Questions like whether the data is normally distributed or skewed, should student’s t distribution be used or bells curve be used, should alpha be taken at 5% or 10% bug them all the time. They look for the devil in details. A machine learning engineer does not bother with many of these problems. Their headache is completely different, they find themselves stuck on accuracy improvement, false-positive rate minimization, outlier handling, range normalization or k fold validation.
A predictive analyst mostly uses tools like excel. Scenario or goal seek are their favourite. They occasionally use VBA or micros and hardly write any lengthy code. A machine learning engineer spends all his time writing complicated code beyond common understanding, he uses tools like R, Python, Saas. Programming is their major work, fixing bugs and testing on the different landscapes a daily routine.
These differences also bring a major difference in their demand and salary. While predictive analysts are so yesterday, machine learning is the future. A typical machine learning engineer or data scientist (as mostly called these days) are paid 60-80% more than a typical software engineer or predictive analyst for that matter and they are the key driver in today’s technology-enabled world. Uber, Amazon and now self-driving cars are also possible because of them only.
Head to Head Comparison between Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics (Infographics)
Below is the top 7 Comparision between Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics:
Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics Comparison Table
Below is the detailed explanation of Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics.
|Machine Learning||Predictive Analytics|
|It is an overall term encompassing various subfields including predictive analytics.||It can be treated as a subfield of machine learning.|
|Heavily coding oriented.||Mostly standard software-oriented where a user need not code much themselves|
|It is considered to be generated from computer science i.e. computer science can be treated as the parent here.||Statistics can be treated as a parent here.|
|It is the technology of tomorrow.||It is so yesterday.|
|It is a machine dominated by many techniques that are hard to understand but work like charm like deep learning.||It is user dominated with techniques that must be intuitive for a user to understand and implement.|
|Tools like R, Python, SaaS are used.||Excel, SPSS, Minitab are used.|
|It is very broad and continuously expanding.||It has a very limited scope and application.|
From the above discussion on both Machine Learning vs Predictive Analytics, it is clear that predictive analytics is basically a sub-field of machine learning. Machine learning is more versatile and is capable to solve a wide range of problems.
This has been a guide to Machine Learning vs Predictive Analytics. Here we have discussed Machine Learning vs Predictive Analytics head to head comparison, key difference along with infographics and comparison table. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –