Today, artificial intelligence and machine learning play a crucial role in various fields of application. In one way or another, they influence our everyday lives. This current state of affairs and the suggestive power of these terms have triggered fundamental discussions in society. However, the technical basics have not received the attention they deserve - and need. This is especially true from a legal perspective, where groundwork on both the fundamental functionality as well as all the relevant terms surrounding the technology seems to be almost non-existent. This paper aims to fill this gap. We examine the technical background of artificial intelligence and machine learning from an interdisciplinary perspective and aim to develop common definitions that can be used for further research in legal academia. These findings provide a common starting point for a more differentiated treatment of legal (and technical) questions surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning and allow legal academia to make reliable legal statements as well as to advance legal research in this field.