Video: Pros and Cons of Supervised Machine Learning for Content Personalization
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Read the complete transcript of this clip:
Rafah Hosn: Let's talk a little bit about interactive learning for personalization. Let's take a content scenario. This is Paul. Paul likes to browse news before he makes his weekly fantasy picks. Susan, on the other hand, she likes to browse business news right before she calls her clients.
The question is, why should these two people with very different interests see the same content? We should be able to personalize for each. The second question, which comes up very often is, if you're personalizing content that changes constantly underneath your feet, how do you manage that? A good personalization service is one that is continuously adapting to both content and context changes.
How do people do this in machine learning-land? The most common way among folks that do machine learning for personalization is to use a supervised learning paradigm. In a supervised learning paradigm, you start with a training example. Then you spend X-millions of dollars labeling those things. You shove them into one of multiple varieties of supervised learners. Out comes a classifier, which you can give a number in real time if you've trained it on numbers. For a certain amount of accuracy, it will give you that number.
Supervised learning works well. It's the underlying technology for Speech-reco, Siri, Alexa, and Google Home. All of these thing came about from supervised learning: Image Net, Image Reco, Face APIs. All of these are the results of a good supervised learning algorithm.
How about news? What if you wanted to personalize any type of content, such as news, video feeds, playlists, and you're trying to maximize a business outcome? Suppose, for the case of this scenario, you're interested about click-through rates. To build a supervised learner, you collect some user article-click information. You build a feature set, and you learn how to predict a click given a user and an article. At most companies, you deploy this in an A/B test. Then it fails. The question, is why is my A/B test failing?
So, what goes wrong? The first question: Is Canada interesting to Rafah? If you've never offered me Canadian news on my favorite website, you have no historical data on me ever clicking on a news article pertaining to Canada. Your supervised learner has never seen that example, so if you're training on historical data, the answer is no, but it turns out I'm Canadian and I follow Canadian news, so you have to have the right signal to get the right answer. It's very important, especially when you're training over historical data.
Another thing that goes wrong is when you're creating supervised learning models that are based on historical data. This is real data, by the way, from a partner of ours. A model that's trained day one loses half its value by day two, especially when content is constantly changing underneath your feet because, again, you're training on historical data. Unless you're continuously relabeling and retraining, those models lose their value over time.
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