Yeah, Economists (and I'm an avid amateur) use a language that is not precise to describe behavior that is not able to be precisely measured. Take the word "rational" for instance: Rationality in psychological terms implies something on the order of optimization in general, while rational in economic terms is optimization for individual behavior. Yes, an individual may change to the faster moving line or lane, but that only has a cumulative effect on the mass of behavior, and does not add to strategy as a whole. Individual behavior does not advance knowledge of the subject; it is only the accumulated effects of individual behaviors that reveal Economic behavior and may reveal Economic principles.
The closest thing we have in in tech terms is "emergent systems" and economics actually closely resembles an experiment in complex systems.
The other imprecision is to generalize about Economists. Some Economists are idealists or philosophers and deal in theory only, trying to determine "the way things should be." Some Economists are technologists and are mostly concerned about using the information to manipulate outcomes. (Many negative effects are a result of Economists who do both of these!) Somewhere in between these two types is the Economic Scientist whose main concern is finding out what is going on, proving that it is valid, and who can use the information to actually predict Economic behavior. It seems to me that machine learning actually serves the Economic Scientist.