What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning refers to computers that are able to act and react without being explicitly programmed to do so. Computer scientists and engineers are developing systems that not only intake, retrieve, and interpret data, but also learn from it. To do this, the machine must make a generalization, using its algorithm to perform accurately on new examples after being trained on a different learning data set — much like a human learns from experiences and uses that knowledge to respond appropriately in a different encounter. In this sense, machine learning is widely considered by many researchers and thought leaders to reflect an emerging approach towards human-like artificial intelligence. Practical speech recognition, semantic applications, and even self-driving cars all leverage machine learning. A recent incarnation of machine learning is software called Xapagy, which improvises dialogue and plot moves in stories fed to it by users. The potential of machine learning for education is vast, facilitating altogether smarter technology that has the accuracy of a computer and the adaptability of the most intelligent human beings.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 7, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

I spent some time thinking about this over the weekend. Trying to get a grip on what this will mean to education. The possible impact is so great it is difficult for me to get my arms around it. I did cull it down to a specific question. If technology has the adaptability of the most intelligent human beings, what would we as human beings be teaching and learning? I believe it would be very, very different from what we do now, so different I could not even imagine. Would love to hear others thoughts.- jmorrison jmorrison Mar 4, 2013
  • I agree with jmorrison - implications are huge BUT creating such systems are expensive and I don't see anything that shows how it applies to learning. However, consider Pandora, which has figured out that some 500 attributes of music that are present in varying proportions in songs, so if a person likes a particular song, it can recommend other songs with similar attributes. I could see advantages in helping with learning using that, but I'm not sure what it would look like AND does that lead to a Darwinian extinction of "mutations" - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 7, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

https://www.coursera.org/#course/ml - jmorrison jmorrison Mar 1, 2013

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