You’ve been reading a lot about artificial intelligence and machine learning, and this is just the beginning. So it’s probably worth understanding exactly what these terms mean and how they’re applied in the real world. To peel back the layers, let’s go to a small, family run cucumber business in Japan. “Koike’s father, Harumi, plants the seeds; Koike oversees their cultivation; and his mother, Masako, sorts the harvest. This last job is particularly important in Japan, which is famously discerning about its produce. Nice strawberries can fetch several dollars apiece in some markets, and a sublime cubic watermelon can go for hundreds.” Here’s the pickle the family found themselves in. It often takes Masako all day to go through a batch of 4,000 cucumbers. It’s this sorting issue that needed to become more efficient. The first step was taking photos of a lot of cucumbers (and that’s not a euphemism). Amos Zeeberg in The New Yorker: D.I.Y. Artificial Intelligence Comes to a Japanese Family Farm. If they can pull it off, they’ll have more free time and be making a lot more cabbage.

+ OK, now that you have the basics, let’s move onto a slightly more complicated example; understanding how AI could help your doctor to give you a more accurate diagnosis in a shorter amount of time. From Wired: Want a diagnosis tomorrow, not next year? Turn to AI.