Kick-Start Your AI Knowledge: 5 Must Listen Podcasts about Machine Learning

Machine learning has become so ubiquitous that it’s behind many of the technologies we use every day. And yet few people really understand it. That’s a shame, because it’s a foundational element of artificial intelligence, and one that’s driving fundamental changes in how programmers work.

Given that it’s such a multifaceted topic, where do you start? We’re sharing a list of our favorite podcast episodes that when combined together offer an interesting and easy-to-understand five-part crash course. Check out the following episodes to get the skinny on machine learning.

1. The Future of Machine Learning

If you’re just getting started with the wide world of machine learning, this is a great jumping-off point. Inmar Givoni is director of machine learning at, a company that is building systems that enable robots to understand and participate in our world. In this episode of our own Impact Podcast, she covers what machine learning is, its common applications, some practical considerations, and the future of this technology.

2. The History of Machine Learning from the Inside Out

This is an invaluable primer for understanding how machine learning came to be, from our perennial-favorite podcast, Talking Machines. The show is now in its third season, but this early episode is still just as valuable as it was when it debuted.

What makes Talking Machines exceptional is the high caliber of its guests. This episode features three people who have had a huge influence on the development of deep learning: Geoffrey Hinton of Google and the University of Toronto, Yoshua Bengio of the University of Montreal, and Yann LeCun of Facebook and NYU. (This is a two-part interview; the second part covers neural nets and more.)

3. The Product Edge in Machine Learning Startups

How can startups compete with larger companies that have huge data troves? This episode from the a16z podcast is all about how startups can succeed, even with a relatively small data set. Textio’s CTO and cofounder Jensen Harris and Everlaw’s CEO and cofounder AJ Shankar talk about building the right product; knowing what to build, what to buy, and what to customize; and what they wish they’d known when they were starting out.

4. AI in the Workplace and the Future of Robotic Process Automation

One of the most practical applications of machine learning today is using AI to automate work processes for greater efficiency. In this episode Adam Devine, the CMO of WorkFusion (a Georgian Partners portfolio company), discusses robotic process automation and its advantages for business. He thinks of automation as a way to elevate the application of human intelligence: “You hire the same great people, but you expect them to perform at a higher level because machines are doing for them what they had done before with their hands and their minds.”

Bonus: The Making of a Fintech Bot

For even more on robotic process automation, hear how another Georgian Partners portfolio company, PrecisionLender, created a powerful bot (and named her Andi). She’s designed to help fintech managers and commercial bankers make better deals and build stronger customer relationships.

5. A Pragmatic View of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

As a wrap-up to your five-part learning journey, check out this chat with Georgian Partners’ own director of machine learning, Parinaz Sobhani. She recently completed her Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, and she shares her insights about how machine learning is taught in universities, how deep learning factors into the scene, and what risks and consequences merit consideration as we forge ahead with AI.

That’s a Wrap

That’s a lot of knowledge packed into about two hours of listening time! Now you understand why Google searches about machine learning have nearly tripled in just two years. Machine learning is involved in everything from spam filtering to facial recognition, and its applications are increasing by the moment. If you’re thirsty for more on the topic, check out our roundup of resources to help you understand applied artificial intelligence.