so far, i've done some school projects in robotics and game programming. But what i'm really interested in, it is in researching ways that will allow a program/machine to learn from experience and then adapt that knowledge to any scenario that hasn't being thought before or that it is not encoded. nblue thanks, i will check wiki.
You don't mention what language(s) you are comfortable with, but you should be able to find some tutorials on a simple neural network for something like optical character recognition. This could be a good starting point. They are often used for pattern recognition amongst other things. For other topics you can look into statistical machine learning
It's a very broad field as you have probably already seen, but these might give you a starting point to work from.