In school we learned many things: e.g. vocabulary, grammar, geography, solving mathematical equations, and coordinating movements in sports. These are very different things which involve declarative knowledge as well as procedural knowledge or skills in principally all fields. We are used to subsume these various processes of obtaining this knowledge and skills under the single word “learning”. And, we learned that learning is important. Why is it important to a living organism?
Learning is a crucial capability if the effective environment cannot be foreseen in all relevant details, either due to complexity, or due to the nonstationarity of the environment. The mechanisms of learning allow nature to create and re-produce organisms or systems which can evolve â€” with respect to the later given environment â€”optimized behavior.
This is a fascinating mechanism, which also has very attractive technical perspectives. Today many technical appliances and systems are standardized and cost-efficient mass products. As long as they are non-adaptable, they require the environment and its users to comply to the given standard. Using learning mechanisms, advanced technical systems can adapt to the different given needs, and locally reach a satisfying level of helpful performance.