Human Machine Learning

In 1959, a man named Arthur Samuel defined machine learning as a “field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed”. This is the second line on the Wikipedia about Machine Learning. It is a way to have computers learn and take action. The theme¬†of most science fiction horror movies. But that is not the first thing I thought about when I learned about machine learning. I actually thought about the statement in a human psychological sense. Humans being able to learn things they were not instinctively¬†programmed to do.


To give more clarity to what I mean about humans being instinctively programmed to do, I want to take a look at the life cycle of an animal. For my example, I will use a silver back gorilla. A gorilla spends about 14 hours a day feeding and foraging and 10 hours rest. The more dominant silver back gorilla in the group is responsible for the protecting of their troop, and will begin to threaten any intruders by beating their chest and screaming. When it comes to social interactions, the silver back gorilla rub noses with each other. Do these gorillas contemplate their decision making when doing these behaviors? Or are they just carrying out the programming that nature has given them? What are some human instincts that we have been programmed to carry out by nature? Mate, reproduce, and care for our loved ones. But now, people go to school, get jobs, pick clothes, watch movies, explore the world. I’m curious to think that humans could have one day been programmed the same way the silver back gorilla was. But if that is the case, then who taught humans to learn and take actions?


Another perspective about machine learning and human development comes from religion. For this example, I will use the bible since it is the most well known. The bible teaches, or programs, to be a good person in the eyes of God and to worship him. Families who believe in the bible raise their kids with these beliefs. To only do what God thinks is best and nothing else. Wit the reward being to get into his Heaven. While some kids do grow up to believe this to be true, some other kids begin to learn other things and start to take different actions. They start to do actions that the bible originally didn’t program them to do and develop into a whole new human mind. Most religions in this case are written programs for humans in order to get them to fulfill certain duties. With machine learning, these programmed humans are able to learn new ideas and perspectives and choose which to believe.


Machine learning is an idea that can revolutionize the way we build machines and programs. And while it is crazy to say, but could machines eventually learn to drop down what humans tell them to do and decide for themselves? We as people are able to drop our instincts to make rational decisions. We could have been programmed to learn from someone on this very Earth.

Credit and Citations

Thank you for the images: MiroBudis, Blazbaros, sunnykoda, stampede

Link to articles: Machine Learning Wiki, Gorilla Facts