Proposal: Machine Learning

Machine Learning is a large enough sub-field of Artificial Intelligence, I figure we might as well change the name (+ description) of this proposal to Artificial Intelligence.

This may also increase the amount of interest in this site.


  • Isn't Artificial Intelligence off the list of available SE sites? Because there are no experts in Artificial Intelligence.
    – fbueckert
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:27
  • 1
    @fbueckert Did you mean what anand_trex said? An expert doesn't have to be an expert in every subfield of a site. Most people aren't knowledgeable about most stuff on Stack Overflow, dare I say even Jon Skeet doesn't know everything. There not existing experts in AI was not the problem with the AI site, maybe rather them not being there, or it not having enough users. Extending the scope a little shouldn't hurt (at least theoretically). Mar 20, 2013 at 13:43
  • Has artificial intelligence been created? No. Ergo, there are no experts on artificial intelligence. That's my understanding of, "No Aritificial Intelligence site. Ever." I could be wrong, though.
    – fbueckert
    Mar 20, 2013 at 13:47
  • @fbueckert Your logic is flawed, just because a site hasn't been created on some random network of sites (i.e. Stack Exchange) doesn't mean there aren't experts in that field. We just need to make sure we have the experts, and as important, the people with decent questions to ask. And there was a Beta AI site. And just because it failed then, doesn't mean it will fail now. Mar 20, 2013 at 14:17
  • I direct you to: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/12/…. Machine learning might have a purpose, as that's things people are working on, and you can have experts in.
    – fbueckert
    Mar 20, 2013 at 14:22
  • Your assumption that just because a proposal gets created means it will get the requisite experts is also flawed. AI has not been made (and damn, would we hear about it if it had). The history has shown that an AI proposal is not a good thing; it will lack the necessary expertise to answer anything.
    – fbueckert
    Mar 20, 2013 at 14:25
  • @fbueckert I don't assume that. But we can try again though. I'd like to quote your link - "when a proposal is closed or a site is closed down, users are always welcome to try again". Note that I didn't create this proposal, I'm just thinking ML is probably about 80%+ of AI (I may be way off), so I'm proposing we extend it. Even if my % is way off, I still definitely don't see how you can say ML might have a purpose, but AI won't work. The way I see it, at worst, AI can have all the questions ML could've had, there's no loss of scope. Mar 20, 2013 at 14:55
  • We'll have to agree to disagree here, I think. ML is a small subset of AI, in my opinion, and extending it will mean ML will get lost in the process. That's my final comment on this.
    – fbueckert
    Mar 20, 2013 at 15:01
  • @fbueckert Note the history has shown much less than you think. It only showed that the proposal didn't work. Which could be because of: 1) Bad moderation. 2) Bad timing. 3) Bad advertising. 4) Pre-mature going to Beta. 5) Bad users. 6) No experts exist. 7) Some other stuff. "No experts exist" seems like the least likely reason of those to me (with the exception of "Bad timing"). Mar 20, 2013 at 15:02
  • There was also an earlier failed machine learning proposal. Between Cross Validated and Computer Science, what isn't covered by existing sites? Mar 21, 2013 at 0:35
  • For example, here's a machine learning question on CS: cs.stackexchange.com/questions/11527/machine-learning-problem
    – intrepidis
    Apr 24, 2013 at 1:18
  • @fbueckert AI systems have been developed over 60 years ago (see Claude Shannon's electrical mouse). Saying things like "AI has not been made" and "there are no experts on artificial intelligence" only serve to show us that your opinions are out of date by more than six decades. Jun 6, 2013 at 5:14
  • Update: new Artificial Intelligence SE beta has been started.
    – kenorb
    Aug 11, 2016 at 1:11

3 Answers 3


If you want to talk about ML, using the term "AI" instead is so vague that it is misleading.

Machine learning is basically a series of tasks (clustering, classification, reinforcement learning, etc) unified only by the fact that they are types of statistical inference.

In contrast, artificial intelligence encompasses much larger swath of problems -- robotics, natural language processing, computer vision, combinatorial search, and so on.

So while AI uses ML techniques heavily, it is wrong to say that it is given or even likely that AI entails ML. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

We should pick exactly one thing we want to do well, and then go do it well.

  • Agreed. 'Artificial Intelligence' might lend itself to the abstract; 'Would a brain simulation be conscious?' Whereas 'Machine Learning' is a well-defined field; 'In a back propagation neural network, what is the purpose of sigma?' See the difference?
    – John
    Jun 3, 2013 at 18:51

There was an earlier Artificial Intelligence proposal that didn't make it beyond beta. So I guess that name doesn't give that much of a leg up


First, lets clean up the terminology so we can be objective and avoid confusion. Neither AI nor ML are vague terms, nor are they poorly defined fields. Just because a field is broad does not imply that it is vague or poorly defined (eg. mathematics). From Wikipedia:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is technology and a branch of computer science that studies and develops intelligent machines and software.

Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, is about the construction and study of systems that can learn from data.

An artificially intelligent system need not employ ML in order to accomplish a task. The two are interrelated, but one term is not more correct than the other.

Since ML is a smaller category than AI, as a SE site, it will unquestionably be less popular and therefore less successful than AI. The best strategy is to try the AI proposal again. We should muster as much support for AI as possible, as it is more likely to succeed than ML alone.

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