How to Explain Machine Learning to an 8-Year-Old

apples Photo by Holly Mindrup via Unsplash
Photo by Holly Mindrup via Unsplash

Loved this question I got at a recent interview: “How would you explain machine learning to an 8-year-old?” Here is my take on it:

Machine learning is about teaching computers to work more like our brains. What’s so cool about our brains is they have the ability to combine information to come up with new ideas.

Let’s say one day in school you learned all about apples.

And the next day at school you learned that if you steamed and mashed the apples you could make applesauce.

And the next day at school you learned about bananas.

Your brain might then get the idea “hey, if I mashed up the bananas I bet I could make bananasauce!”*

Your brain didn’t need to be taught that idea. It combined information it had to come up with that new idea.

Machine learning is about teaching computers how to do just that.

 

*not a mainstream dish, but tasty nonetheless

 

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