Re: Over the years people have done AI projects in software development.
I think you miss a crucial element of (machine, and indeed human) learning: the facility to generalise. This is what underpins "deep learning" algorithms such as AlphaGo.
So a trained deep learning algorithm doesn't just barf when it sees a pattern that it hasn't encountered in training - it's not just looking up a response in a database. Rather, it responds more along the lines of: "well, when I've encountered patterns similar to this during training, then it turned out that response such-and-such seemed to work, so I'll go with that".
This seems to me not a million miles away from human learning. Yes, it may take human intervention to set up training sets and even short-cuts/heuristics to successful training - but then isn't that exactly what a good human teacher does? In deriding the human element of designing a machine learning system are we not perhaps setting the bar for machine learning higher than for human learning?
Also, I don't think your Fosbury Flop example is a good illustration of learning, so much as of creativity - surely not the same thing. I mean, many humans can learn an existing high-jump technique - but it took a rather special creative (as opposed to learning) step to invent a novel technique.