Why machine learning? It is very applicable in everyday quality of life enhancements such as personalized search query and spam filtering. Natual language processing, recogniation as well as synthesis is pretty cool.
Deep learning and neural network is more relevant now because of “big data”. The data is generated now more than ever. Other contributing factors include advancements in parallel processing and specialized hardware. Thus more research are put into advanced “deep learning” methods including architecture, robust training, and better activation functions for ANNs.
Nowadays there are more machine learning tools and libraries to help developers a lot easier.