Artificial intelligence (Al) has been the darling of movie directors and science-fiction writers for years, often cast as an ominous force presenting an existential threat to humanity. Indeed, there is still widespread debate, especially among philosophers, about what Al will ultimately mean for the human race. But the reality is that Al is already being put to useful work in all kinds of applications, including B2B marketing.

Al and machine learning (ML) are two terms sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Al encompasses multiple fields such as image processing, cognitive science, neural networks, and more. Its goal is to make machines and systems "smart" by giving them the ability to acquire and apply knowledge in a human-like way.

ML is a subset of Al and is more specific to making a machine learn from the external environment through sensors and other sources of data input. Its focus is on the classification and clustering of data. It's sometimes said that ML's goal is to increase accuracy, while Al's is to increase the likelihood of success.