Last year, I read a blog post from Bendan O'Connor entitled "Statistics vs. Machine Learning, fight!" that discussed some of the differences between the two fields. Andrew Gelman responded to favorably to this:
From R's fortunes package: To paraphrase provocatively, 'machine learning is statistics minus any checking of models and assumptions'. -- Brian D. Ripley (about the difference between machine learning and statistics) useR! 2004, Vienna (May 2004) :-) Season's Greetings!
In that case, maybe we should get rid of checking of models and assumptions more often. Then maybe we'd be able to solve some of the problems that the machine learning people can solve but we can't!
There was also the "Statistical Modeling: The Two Cultures" paper by Leo Breiman in 2001 which argued that Statisticians rely too heavily on data modeling, and that machine learning techniques are making progress by instead relying on the predictive accuracy of models.
Has the Statistics field changed over the last decade in response to these critiques? Do the two cultures still exist or has Statistics grown to embrace machine learning techniques such as neural networks and support vector machines?