Our first attempts at replicating ourselves involved jamming machines full of information and hoping for the best. Seriously, there was a time when the prevailing theory of consciousness was that it could arise from just a ton of information connected together. Google could be seen by some as the culmination of this vision, but while the company has indexed 30 trillion webpages, I don’t think anyone expects our search engines to start asking us if there is a god.
Rather, the beauty of machine learning is that instead of pretending computers are human and simply feeding them with knowledge, we help computers to reason and then let them generalize what they’ve learned to new information.
While not well understood, neural networks, deep learning, and reinforcement learning are all machine learning. They’re all methods of creating generalized systems that can perform analysis on new data. Put a different way, machine learning is one of many artificial intelligence techniques, and things like neural networks and deep learning are just tools that can be used to build better frameworks with broader applications.