Machine learning: the self-programming machine.

Machine learning is a scientific discipline that is concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on empirical data, such as from sensor data or databases. A major focus of machine learning research is to automatically learn to recognize complex patterns and make intelligent decisions based on data; the difficulty lies in the fact that the set of all possible behaviors given all possible inputs is too complex to describe generally in programming languages, so that in effect programs must automatically describe programs. Artificial intelligence is a closely related field, as also probability theory and statistics, data mining, pattern recognition, adaptive control, and theoretical computer science.

By 1961 Herbert A. Simon was not alone in predicting that “… we can dismiss the notion that computer programmers will become a powerful elite in the automated corporation. It is far more likely that the programming occupation will become extinct (through the further development of self-programming techniques) than that it will become all powerful. More and more, computers will program themselves; and direction will be given to computers through the mediation of compiling systems that will be completely neutral so far as the content of the decision rules is concerned.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning
http://www.princeton.edu/~hos/Mahoney/articles/miscellany/ieeetalk.html

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