Also, you can play around with tons of machine learning algorithms by downloading and installing SciKit-Learn. It’s a python framework that has “black box” versions of all the standard algorithms.
Andrew Ng’s free Machine Learning class on Coursera is pretty amazing. I highly recommend starting there. It should be accessible to anyone who has a Comp. Sci. degree and who remembers a very minimal amount of math.
Wouldn’t it be better if the computer could just figure out how to implement this function for you? Who cares what exactly the function does as long is it returns the correct number: