Humans had dreamed of flying like birds for millenia. They had the idea that the ability of flying was dependent on having wings attached to your back. This idea was expressed in poems, tales and paints for a long time.

By the time, humans managed to fly, that idea was long gone and was replaced by aerodynamic principles. Our notion of “flying” had gradually changed from the ability of flapping wings attached to your back to move in the air to the ability of operating a machine that obeys the principles of aerodynamics to move in the air.

Similarly, learning has a similar status, in that we have thought for a long time that only humans can be capable of learning at the speed at complexity that we do.

But perhaps, at some point in the future, the principles of learning will be torn open and exposed under the light of science like it was done with the principles of flying.

Attempts like machine learning, even if they do not offer the ground-breaking principles, might be a part of it. And by then, our notion of learning will have completely changed.

What will learning look like? If machine flying looks nothing like the way birds fly then we might want to think that machine learning will look nothing like the way humans learn. But the end result will be the same. And that is all that matters.