Can anyone help me explain what is Machine Learning?

I have been googling for the subject and still do not understand what it is. Please help.

1) How could a Machine learn about information? By finding an equation of a pattern? or by having the user inputing a new information about the subject that the machine do not understand?

2) Please gives me a concrete example of Machine Learning.

Thanks in advance.

The best way I had machine learning explained to me was similar to this:

Lets say you want a computer to identify a color. Lets take "Red", or 255, 0, 0 (or some threshold of).
(NOTE: Of course, what you would write is an algorithm that looks at color and a specific threshold (say... "red") not always "red"... because that would just be silly, right?)

You write an algorithm that looks at pixel data, and returns a 1 or a 0: 1 being "YES! It's RED!" and 0 being "NO!" (or Yes! It's a thing, or no it's not!)

You then "train" your algorithm by giving it lots of variations on the color "RED" to include "Like Red" (again, to some threshold of)
You put this training system into separate computers, all of which take an input (your color) and an output (1 or 0)
You then make a program that takes in your color, sends the color randomly to a random number of these computers, and gives you the weighted average of their deduction of if the value is 1 or 0.

You can, then, make adjustments to how to "train" your machines by either letting them figure out variants on their own (by programming that in by giving it the ability to make assumptions, or some memory/database) or by manually saying "You got it right!" or "You got it wrong!" and giving it guided teaching (which it stores those responses instead of making its own assumptions).

While this is super duper simplistic - this is the heart of machine learning. You boil down a physical "thing" to a binary state, and you program machines in however complex a system you like to identify your "thing" (which can be very comlex: for example - a face. How do you identify a face? You have some machines process "eyes", some machines process a "nose", some machines process a "head on a body" some machines process a "mouth" or "teeth" -- and even then, those "machiens" can actually be another series of machines that break down that identification process into smaller digestible 1's and 0's. In the end, you get a weighted average of either a 1 or a 0, and you have the probability that you are looking at a "face." Which is why some machines can be tricked into what it thinks is a face because we give it components, but they may not be in the correct position, color, etc...).

That's about the best I got on it... Hope that helps..

Also, if anyone wants to expand or correct me, I would love to read it.