Machine Learning vs Deep Learning Explained


Machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) are both branches of artificial intelligence (AI) that have gained significant attention in recent years. This article aims to provide a comprehensive comparison between ML and DL, focusing on their key differences, applications, and advantages. By examining the distinctions between these two AI technologies, readers can gain a better understanding of their respective strengths and limitations, and how they can be applied in real-world scenarios. We rely on academic sources, such as those provided by [5] and [7], to ensure accuracy and relevance.

Machine Learning: An Overview

Machine learning is a subfield of AI that involves training computers and machines to learn from past data to determine future data or behavior [5]. ML algorithms improve their performance as they are exposed to more data over time, allowing them to automatically adapt with minimal human interference [4]. Some common ML techniques include decision trees, support vector machines (SVM), and k-nearest neighbors (KNN) [6]. Machine learning models typically rely on less data compared to deep learning models, given the underlying data structure [2].

Deep Learning: An Overview

Deep learning is a subset of ML that employs artificial neural networks (ANNs) to mimic the learning process of the human brain [1]. It is specifically based on multilayer convolutional neural networks (CNNs) [7]. DL models require more data points to improve their accuracy, as they are capable of handling complex use cases, such as virtual assistants, fraud detection, and autonomous vehicles [2][3]. The more layers in a deep learning model, the greater its potential for performing complex tasks well [3].

Key Differences

  1. Data Requirements: Deep learning models demand larger datasets to improve their accuracy, whereas machine learning models can function with smaller datasets [2].
  2. Complexity: Deep learning models are designed to handle more complex tasks, such as image and speech recognition, compared to machine learning models [2].
  3. Architecture: Deep learning relies on ANNs, specifically CNNs, to process and learn from data, while machine learning encompasses a broader range of algorithms, such as decision trees, SVM, and KNN [6].
  4. Feature Extraction: Deep learning models can automatically extract features from raw data, whereas machine learning models often require manual feature extraction or engineering before training [7].


Machine learning has found its way into various applications, including computer vision, which trains machines to process, analyze, and recognize visual data using algorithms such as KNN, SVM, and Naïve Bayes [6]. Other applications of ML include natural language processing, recommendation systems, and predictive analytics.

Deep learning, on the other hand, is widely used in more advanced applications, such as autonomous vehicles, chatbots, and medical diagnostics [3]. Its ability to handle complex data and tasks has also made it a popular choice for image and speech recognition, language translation, and generative modeling.


Machine learning and deep learning are both essential components of artificial intelligence that serve different purposes and applications. While machine learning models excel at handling structured data with smaller datasets, deep learning models are better suited for complex tasks and require larger amounts of data for optimal performance. Understanding the key differences and applications of these technologies enables us to make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate approach for a specific problem or use case.


[1] Coursera. (n.d.). AI vs deep learning vs machine learning: Beginner’s guide.

[2] IBM. (n.d.). AI vs. machine learning vs. deep learning vs. neural networks.

[3] Brown, S. (April 2021.). Machine learning explained. MIT Sloan retrieved in April 2023 from

[4] Built In. (n.d.). AI vs. machine learning.

[5] Alaskar, H. & Saba, T. (2021). Machine Learning and Deep Learning: A Comparative Review. 10.1007/978-981-33-6307-6_15.

[6] Sharma, N., Sharma, R. & Jindal, N. (2021). Machine Learning and Deep Learning Applications-A Vision. Global Transitions Proceedings, 2(1), 24-28

[7] ResearchGate. (n.d.). Machine learning, deep learning, and AI: What’s the difference?’s_the_Difference