Artificial intelligence can indeed spot spam quicker than humans, but there are limits, says Jan Oetjen from United Internet AG 

Can artificial intelligence spot spam?

More than 40 years ago in 1978, a computer vendor in the USA sent the first spam email, but only 20 years later, in the early 2000s, it looked as if spam would finally kill off email altogether. The huge quantities of junk email being generated threatened to overwhelm the world’s inboxes and stifle productivity completely. It was just a stroke of good luck that Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the shape of Machine Learning (ML) emerged at around the same time to help combat the onslaught by sifting through massive amounts of data and using it to learn how to recognise different patterns that were a common feature of mass mailings. AI is sometimes used as a catch all term when in practice most companies are using Machine Learning which can’t extrapolate new conclusions without new training data. Today, machine learning artificial/intelligence can spot spam, but because of the limits of machine learning, humans need to step in from time to time.

AI is not completely error free of course; there are still false positives and it has to be constantly re-trained to stay one step ahead of the spammers, but it has nevertheless proved to be a faster and more consistent tool than its human equivalent. READ MORE ON: INFORMATION AGE