Machine Learning

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 243–248 | Cite as

Editorial: Human and machine learning

  • Pat Langley


Although science can be characterized in terms of search, some search methods let one explore multiple paths in parallel. We have argued that more machine learning researchers should focus their efforts on modeling human behavior, but we have not argued that the field should limit itself to this approach. For those interested in general principles, the study of nonhuman learning methods is also necessary for useful results. In terms of applications, some of machine learning's greatest achievements have involved nonincremental methods that are clearly poor models of human learning. Planes are terrible imitations of birds (and fly less efficiently), but there are still excellent reasons for using aircraft.

However, we do believe that too little research has focused on results from the literature on human learning, and that greater attention in this direction would benefit the field as a whole. Science is a complex and bewildering process, and the scientist should employ all available knowledge to direct his steps in useful directions. This strategy seems especially important in young fields like machine learning, in which conflicting views and methods abound. We encourage the reader to join us in applying machine learning techniques to explain the mysteries of human behavior, and in using knowledge of human behavior to constrain our computational theories of learning.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pat Langley
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvine

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