AI is radically changing society and the main driver behind new AI methods and systems is machine learning. Machine learning focuses on finding solutions for, or patterns in, new data by learning from relevant existing data. Thus, machine learning algorithms are often applied to large datasets and then they more or less autonomously find good solutions by finding relevant information or patterns hidden in the data. However, it is often not well understood why machine learning algorithms work so well in practice on completely new data – often their performance surpass what current theory would suggest by a wide margin.
Being able to understand and predict when, why and how well machine learning algorithms work on a given problem is critical for knowing when they may be applied and trusted, in particular in more critical systems. Understanding why the algorithms work is also important in order to be able drive the machine learning field forward in the right direction, improving upon existing algorithms and designing new ones.