This is his seminal paper originally published in 1959 where Samuel sets out to build a program that can learn to play the game of checkers. Checkers is an extremely complex game - as a matter of fact the game has roughly 500 billion billion possible positions - that using a brute force only approach to solve it is not satisfactory. Samuel's program was based on Claude Shannon's minimax strategy to find the best move from a given current position. In this paper he describes how a machine could look ahead "by evaluating the resulting board positions much as a human player might do".
Arthur Samuel (1901-1990) was a pioneer of artificial intelligence research. From 1949 through the late 1960s, he did the best work in making computers learn from their experience. His vehicle for this work was the game of checkers. Programs for playing games often fill the role in artificial intelligence research that the fruit fly Drosophila plays in genetics. Drosophilae are convenient for genetics because they breed fast and are cheap to keep, and games are convenient for artificial intelligence because it is easy to compare a computer's performance on games with that of a person.
This big data discipline of artificial intelligence gives systems the freedom to automatically gain information and improve from experience without manual programming. Machine learning is literally just that – "letting the machine learn". The definition of machine learning is "the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to effectively perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. It is seen as a subset of artificial intelligence. Machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model of sample data, known as'training data', in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task".
Programmed by Arthur Samuel, this big data discipline of artificial intelligence replaces the tedious task of trying to understand the problem well enough to be able to write a program, which can take much longer or be virtually impossible. Techopedia defines the discipline of machine learning as "an artificial intelligence (AI) discipline geared toward the technological development of human knowledge. Machine learning allows computers to handle new situations via analysis, self-training, observation and experience. Machine learning facilitates the continuous advancement of computing through exposure to new scenarios, testing and adaptation, while employing pattern and trend detection for improved decisions in subsequent (though not identical) situations." In 1959, IBM employee Arthur Samuel wanted to teach a computer to play checkers.