# AI 101 – How Does Artificial Intelligence Work?

## Overview: Artificial Intelligence in 100 Words

### AI is Learning

The basic premise behind artificial intelligence is to create algorithms (computer programs) that can learn by viewing unknown data and comparing that data to data that it is already familiar with or has learned what it is. (We’ll discuss the difference between “already familiar” with “has learned ” further in this article), so let’s start by looking at a simple example.

Image by Susann Mielke from Pixabay. Text by SMS.

### In the Mind of AI

Is this a fork or a spoon? Well, they both have handles, but this one has spikes. Let me look up what pieces of information I have in my database that looks like this item. Oh, I have a piece that resembles this spike property, so it must be a fork!

These programs are written to scan new data, then they break the data up into the different characteristics that compose the item. It then matches those characteristics to other data it already knows and makes a determination.

The more information (characteristics) it can compare the new item to, the more precise its determination will be.

AI compares new data to old data in order to make a determination of what the new data is. This is called data analytics.

Now, let’s go a bit deeper into how a computer program is written.

## Writing the Computer Program

We spoke about how computers are programmed using instructions in our bits and bytes article, but as a refresher, let’s recap!

Computer programs, called algorithms, tell the computer to do things by reading instructions that a human programmer has entered.  One of our examples was a program that distributes funds to an ATM recipient. It was programmed to distribute the funds if there is enough money in the person’s account and not if there isn’t.

But THIS IS NOT AI since the instructions are specific and there are no variations to decide anything other than “if this then that”.

In other words, the same situation will occur over and over with only two results. There is no determination that there may be more issues, such as possible fraudulent activity.

Bottom line – There is no learning involved.

## Writing a Learning Program

The ATM example above is limited to two options, but AI is extremely more intensive than that. It is used to scan thousands of items of data in order to determine a conclusion.

### How Netflix Does It

Did you ever wonder how Netflix shows you movies or TV shows that are tuned to your interests? It does this by determining what your preferences are based on your previous viewings.

The algorithm analyzes large amounts of data, including user preferences, viewing history, ratings, and other relevant information to make personalized recommendations for each user.

It employs machine learning (we will be discussing this more later in this article) to predict which movies or TV shows the user is likely to enjoy.

It identifies patterns and similarities between users with similar tastes and suggests content that has been positively received by those users but hasn’t been watched by the current user.

For instance, if a user has watched and enjoyed science fiction movies, the recommendation might be to suggest other sci-fi films or TV shows that are popular among users with similar preferences.

The program will learn and adapt as the user continues to interact with the platform, incorporating feedback from their ratings and viewings in order to refine future recommendations.

By leveraging machine learning, streaming platforms like Netflix can significantly enhance the user experience by providing tailored recommendations, increasing user engagement, and improving customer satisfaction.

This can’t be done using the non-learning ‘if-else’ program we previously spoke about in the ATM example.

### A Gmail AI Example

As you type your email, Google is reading it and then offers words to accompany the sentence that would coincide with what you are about to type before you have even typed it.

This is called language modeling and is another method by which AI is used.

In language modeling, the algorithm uses a factor of probability that is used to predict the most likely next word in a sentence based on the previous entry.

### A Vocabulary Update

Before we continue, let’s get a bit more technical. The word ‘characteristics’ has been used here for simplicity, but the actual term where the computer looks at points of a subject is called “patterns“. And pattern recognition is the process of identifying unique points in the data.

AI algorithms feed on data to learn new things. The more data that exists, the easier it will be for the algorithm to identify the characteristics or patterns of an entity.

## AI: How it All Works

There are three main types of machine learning: supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning.

### Supervised Learning

This is the most common type of machine learning. It involves feeding a computer a large amount of data, with the aim of enabling it to recognize patterns and make predictions when confronted with new data. In other words, supervised learning consists of training a computer program to learn from marked data (data that has been already identified).

#### How the Machine Thinks with Supervised Learning

Show and Tell: A human shows the program what a bridge is. Then he shows the program what a building is. The program takes note of the characteristics of each, technically called patterns. If computer instructions were written in plain English, this is what it would say:

This is a bridge. Look at the patterns that make up the bridge. And this is a building. Look at the patterns that make up the building.

When the program runs it would think in these terms.

I can see distinguishable characteristics between the two. Let me match them up with what my human showed me which is which and then make a decision of whether this is a bridge or a building.

Supervised learning is used in many applications such as image recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing and recommendation systems.

#### It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

A supervised learning algorithm could be trained using a set of images called “cats” and “dogs”, and each cat and dog are labeled as such.

The program would be designed to learn the difference between the animals by using pattern recognition as it scans each image.

A computer instruction (in simplified terms) might be “If you see a pattern of thin lines from the face (whiskers), then this is a cat”.

The end result would be that the program would be able to make a distinction of whether a new image it is presented with is that of a cat or dog!

This type of learning involves two categories – cats and dogs. When only two classifications are involved, it is called Binary Classification.

### An Example

Suppose you are studying insects and you want to separate flying insects from crawling ones. Well, that’s easy. You take a bug that you found in your backyard and compare it to the ant and fly you already stored on your insect board. In AI terms, this is supervised binary classification.

You immediately know, based on the pattern configuration of the insect which classification it belongs to – the crawlers or the flies. Now you grab more flies and put them in the fly category and do the same with the creepy crawlers for their category.

Let’s say you want to go deeper in the fly classification and find out what type of fly it is, (e.g. house fly, horse fly, fruit fly, horn fly, etc.); but you only have two classifications to compare them two – flies and crawlers, so what do we do? You create more classifications for the fly class.

This is multi-classifications, or more technically called multi-class classifications, which provides additional labeled classes for the algorithm to compare the new data to.

We will delve more into multi-class classifications and how this works in our next article, but for now, just know what binary classifications and multi-class clarifications are.

### Unsupervised Learning

Unsupervised learning involves training a computer program without providing any labels or markings to the data. The aim is to enable the program to find (learn) patterns and relationships on its own.

It does this by reading millions of pieces of information and grouping them into categories based on their characteristics or patterns, then making decisions on what the new entity is by matching it up to one of the categories it created.

In other words, it finds matching patterns from the groups in the dataset completely on its own and then labels them without human intervention. This is called clustering.

Anomaly detection is the task of identifying data points that are unusual or different from the rest of the data. This can be useful for tasks such as fraud detection and quality control.

## Reinforcement Learning

Reinforcement learning (RL) is a type of machine learning that focuses on training agents to make decisions based on experience in an environment. RL algorithms learn by trial and error, receiving feedback in the form of rewards or penalties for their actions.

The goal of RL is to maximize cumulative rewards over time by finding an optimal policy, or a sequence of actions, that leads to the highest possible reward. The agent explores the environment by taking action and receiving feedback, which it uses to update its policy to improve its performance.

One of the defining features of RL is the use of a feedback loop in which the agent’s actions influence the state of the environment, which in turn affects the rewards received by the agent. This feedback loop allows the agent to learn from experience and adjust its behavior accordingly.

RL has been applied to a wide range of problems, such as games, robotics and autonomous driving. It is particularly useful in scenarios where the optimal action may not be immediately clear and where exploration is necessary to find the best solution.

Overall, these AI tasks are all widely used in various industries and applications and we continue to see growth and development as artificial intelligence technology advances.

What are the advances or dangers that AI can bring in the future? Read our article on the Pros and Cons of AI to find out.

# How to Optimize for Voice Search in 2023

## Voice Search Overview

Voice search is here to stay and will only be gaining momentum as we proceed into the future and for those that are in marketing or SEOs, it is important to stay up to date with these features and optimize accordingly.

The processes behind voice and text search are quite different. Voice search queries may be longer and more complex, as people tend to ask questions in a conversational style, while text queries are typically shorter and more direct.

Another difference is in the way search results are presented. In text search, results are typically displayed on a search engine results page (SERP), with a list of links and brief descriptions. In contrast, voice search typically provides only the most relevant result, read aloud by a virtual assistant or smart speaker; such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Corona. This means that optimizing for voice search requires a different approach to traditional SEO, with an emphasis on providing clear, concise answers to common voice questions.

Searching by sound is an SEO component that cannot be overlooked and with the accelerating advancements in artificial intelligence, it is imperative that web developers and SEOs keep a watchful eye on this evolving technology.

## The Statistics

As of the writing of this article, 32% of people between the age of 18 and 64 use a voice search medium (Alexa, Siri, Corona, etc.) and that number will only grow as we move to the future.

Entering standard text search queries on mobile devices is commonplace, with over 60% of cell phone users text searching and 57% of mobile users taking advantage of voice search.

It should be no surprise that Google is the most successful interpreter of audio searches with a 95% accuracy.

In a study in 2021, 66.3 million households in the US were forecasted to own a smart speaker and that forecast has become a reality as of 2023.

Voice technology stretches beyond search queries as 44% of homeowners use voice assistants to turn on TVs and lights, as well as an array of other smart home devices currently on the market.

With statistics as these, speaking to robotic assistants is here to stay and will only be growing with new technologies as we proceed through the 2020s and beyond.

## How Does Voice Search Work?

### The Physics Behind It

If you just need to know that there is an analog-to-digital conversion and are not interested in the specifics of how it’s done, you can skip this part and go to the next section, which is Where Does the Data Come From?

We will summarize the process of how the sound of human speech is converted into machine language, which is filtering and digitizing.

Filtering: Smart speakers and voice assistants are designed to recognize the human voice over background noise and other sounds; hence, they filter out negative sounds so that they can only hear our voices.

Digitizing: All sound is naturally created in analog frequencies (use of sinewaves). Computers cannot decode analog frequencies. They must be converted to the computer language of binary code.

Below are the details of how an analog signal is converted to digital.

### The Analog Conversion Process

|n order to make this conversion, an Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) is required. The ADC works by sampling the analog signal at regular intervals and converting each sample into a digital value.

The steps are as follows:

1. Sampling: The first step is to sample the analog signal at a fixed interval. The sampling rate must be high enough to capture all the frequencies of interest in the analog signal. The Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem states that the sampling rate must be at least twice the highest frequency in the signal. Sampling means taking regular measurements of the amplitude (or voltage) of the signal at specific points in time and converting those measurements into a digital signal. Sampling is necessary in order to convert analog sound waves into digital signals, which are easier to store, transmit, and process using digital systems such as computers or microcontrollers. The rate at which the analog signal is sampled, known as the sampling rate or sampling frequency, is important because it determines the level of detail that can be captured in the digital signal. Sampling an analog signal is an important step in converting it to a digital signal that can be analyzed, manipulated, or transmitted using digital systems.
2. Quantization: Once the analog signal is sampled, the next step involves assigning a digital value to each sample based on its amplitude. The resolution of the quantization process is determined by the number of bits used to represent each sample. The higher the number of bits, the greater the resolution of the digital signal.
3. Encoding: The final step is to encode the quantized samples into a digital format. This can be done using various encoding techniques such as pulse code modulation (PCM) or delta modulation.

Overall, the main process of converting analog to digital frequencies involves sampling, quantization, and encoding. The resulting digital signal can then be processed using digital signal processing techniques.

In summary: Smart speakers and voice assistants take in the audio from a person’s speech and convert it to machine language.

## Where Does the Data Come From?

Information gathered from smart speakers and voice assistants pulls data from an aggregate of sources.

If you want your business to grow, you must be attentive to where content for voice search is collected so that you can make intelligent decisions regarding how to optimize for these devices.

### Amazon Alexa

When Alexa responds to a query, it relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine for the answer. Why? Because Amazon, as well as Microsoft, are in direct competition with Google, even though Google has the most popular search engine in the world.

Amazon’s refusal to use Google for audio responses is not something to be concerned about. After all, Bing’s search algorithms are very similar to Google’s.

With that said, if a person speaks to Alexa with a specific request, (e.g. “What’s the weather today?”), Alexa can pull that information from a database associated with that request. In this case, Alexa will connect to Accuweather. The device can access Wikipedia and Yelp if it needs to as well.

### Apple Siri

Initially, Apple used Bing as its default search engine, but in 2017, Apple partnered with Google. Now, when you say “Hey Siri”, you can expect Siri to access the immense data repository from Google and supply the answer. This applies to the Safari browser for text searches as well.

There is a caveat though. When it comes to local business searches, Siri will call on Apple Maps data and will use Yelp for review information.

### Microsoft Cortona

This one is probably the most straightforward out of all of the search engines, as Cortona relies on what else but Microsoft Bing for its information.

OK, this one’s a no-brainer. Google can currently index trillions of pages to retrieve information and since this also applies to Apple’s Siri, this section is of most importance if you want to optimize voice search for these voice assistants.

#### So What is a Featured Snippet?

Featured snippets are what you see after you run a Google search query. It is a paragraph that appears at the top of the page that summarizes the answer to a question.

The information that Google applies to the snippet is gathered from, what Google determines to be the most reliable source (website) for that information.

#### How Does Google Determine a Featured Snippet?

For a snippet to be posted by Google, it needs to know that the source is trustworthy via its domain authority, link juice and high-quality content, to name three important organic factors, as any SEOs would already know, but in addition to these factors, Google will defer to “HowTo” and FAQ pages most often to pull in the snippet.

#### Is Structured Data Needed?

Structured data is extra code that helps Google better understand what the page or parts of the page are about.

One might wonder if structured data has to be used in order to provide the featured snippet? The answer is no. As per Google, as long as the web page is optimized properly and contains the questions that equate to the user’s query or voice search in this case, structured data is not necessary; however, if it wouldn’t hurt to put it in, as we all are aware that nothing is static in the SEO world and this rule can easily change in the future.

The reason why Google focuses on “HowTo” and FAQ pages is that their content reflects that of human speech. For example, an FAQ page on EV cars may have the question “How long do EV batteries last?” – That is exactly how a person would ask a voice assistant that same question!

An ‘Action’ for Google Assistant is created, equivalent to an Alexa Skill and Google will read the snippet back to the user to answer the question he/she asked.

## Summarizing Optimization for Voice Search

### Alexa

Bing: If you have not already done so, bring Bing into your scope of work for SEO and start optimizing for this search engine.

Yelp: We all know that reviews are of the utmost importance, so check out Yelp for your or your client’s business and build on those reviews! Legitimately of course.

### Siri

Apple Factors: Where you might not be fully optimized is with Apple Maps, so get going. Start by registering with Apple Business Connect.

Yelp: And now Yelp is back in the picture!

### Cortona

Bing: As mentioned, become an SEO Bing expert and you are ready to ask Cortona anything.

Besides the standard organic optimization, focus on schema markup for HowTo and FAQ articles for voice search, which, if you’re lucky, will be shown on the SERP as a featured snippet.

There you have it. How to optimize for voice search. Let’s get these robots configured so that our businesses will be the first thing you hear from your voice assistant!

# The Pros and Cons of AI

Are you afraid of what AI can do or are you looking forward to the benefits it can provide? Part of your decision would be based on whether you feel that the glass is half full or half empty, but the reality is that there are always consequences to technological advancements, whether for good or for those individuals looking to gain an upper hand at the expense of the rest of us. The development of the atom bomb was the result of Einstein’s theory of relativity, even though the scientist had no idea of the frightening consequences his theory would bring.

## Overview

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to transform our world in countless ways. From healthcare to finance, and education transportation, AI can benefit mankind in a myriad of ways, but not everyone is on board with this as we will see in this article, the good and the bad of the advancements in artificial intelligence

Regardless, artificial intelligence is advancing at an exceptional rate as our AI avatars explain below.

So now, let’s take a look at both the positives and negatives of artificial intelligence and what it can potentially have for us and then you can make a decision.

## The Benefits

One of the most significant benefits of AI is its potential to revolutionize healthcare. AI can analyze vast amounts of medical data, including patient records, lab results and imaging studies.

With this information, its algorithms can detect patterns and make predictions that could help doctors diagnose and treat diseases more accurately and quickly. It can also help identify high-risk patients, allowing doctors to intervene early and prevent diseases from progressing.

### Transportation

Artificial intelligence can be used to optimize traffic flow and reduce congestion and subsequently, travel time for busy commuters.

Moving not too far into the future are autonomous vehicles – cars that drive themselves. There are some being tested now, such as Teslar and Google and Teslar already has autonomous vehicles on the market, but a driver must remain inside.

When it does become mainstream, self-driving cars, buses and trains have the potential to significantly reduce accidents, traffic congestion, and pollution. By removing the human element from driving, these vehicles can make our roads safer and more efficient.

### Education

Artificial intelligence can also be used to improve education. AI-powered tutoring systems can provide personalized, adaptive learning experiences for students of all ages and abilities.

By analyzing a student’s learning style, strengths and weaknesses, these systems can create customized lesson plans that help them learn more effectively. This can lead to improved academic outcomes and greater educational equity, as students who may struggle with traditional teaching methods can receive tailored instruction that meets their needs.

One caveat is the temptation for students to cheat by using apps such as Chat GPT, but alert teachers should be able to tell the difference by determining if the student’s writing style has changed.  With that said, this will still be a challenge for educators.

### Finance

Ai can be used to detect fraud, manage risk and optimize investments. By analyzing financial data,  machine learning algorithms can detect patterns that may indicate fraudulent activity, alerting financial institutions to potential threats before they cause significant damage.

Additionally, it can help financial institutions manage risk more effectively by predicting market fluctuations and identifying potential investments that offer high returns with low risk.

### Law Enforcement

AI-powered surveillance systems can detect potential threats in public spaces, alerting law enforcement and allowing them to respond more quickly.

It can also be used to analyze crime data, helping law enforcement identify patterns and allocate resources more effectively. Indeed, New York City Mayor Eric Adams introduced crime-fighting robots to the Times Square area and if they prove productive, they will be placed all over the city.

### The Environment

By analyzing environmental data, AI can help us understand the impacts of human activity on the planet and develop strategies to mitigate them. For example, it can help us optimize energy consumption, reduce waste and improve recycling efforts. Additionally, AI can help us predict and respond to natural disasters, reducing their impact on human lives and property.

Of course, as with any powerful technology, AI also poses some risks and challenges. One concern is the potential for it to be used in ways that violate privacy or human rights.

Additionally, the use of AI in decision-making processes could result in biases or discrimination if the algorithms are not carefully designed and monitored. Finally, there is the risk that AI could become too powerful, leading to unintended consequences or even threatening human existence.

To mitigate these risks, we must approach AI development with caution and foresight. We must ensure that AI is developed and used in ways that prioritize human welfare and respect human rights. This requires ongoing dialogue and collaboration between technologists, policymakers and the public.

## Potential Dangers

Artificial Intelligence can pose significant dangers that need to be addressed. Similar to the potential dangers of the use of quantum computers, the same threats are associated with AI.

### The Labor Question

No doubt, unemployment due to artificial intelligence is a major concern. As this technology advances, it becomes increasingly capable of performing tasks that were once done by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.

For example, self-driving cars have the potential to replace human drivers, which would lead to unemployment in the transportation sector. This could result in a significant reduction in the workforce and an increase in social inequality.

### Discrimination

Another danger is its ability to perpetuate biases and discrimination. Algorithms are designed to learn from data, and if the data used is biased, the AI will also be biased. This can result in unfair decisions being made, such as in hiring, lending, or criminal justice. It can have significant negative impacts on individuals and communities.

### The Military

Furthermore, AI could pose a significant threat to global security. With technological advancements increasing in this arena technology, it is becoming increasingly possible for computers to be used in cyber-attacks or even to control weapons systems. This could lead to significant risks and damages, such as loss of life or damage to critical infrastructure.

### Malicious Financial Behavior

The financial markets would most likely be the most affected by artificial intelligence, both for good and bad. We have already discussed the good, but the bad is already a concern. There can be serious consequences that could affect the banks and stock market as nefarious individuals try to override the algorithms with corrupt data and computer instructions. The expression “What’s in your wallet” will have a  much greater significance should malicious AI alter your bank accounts.

### A Question of Morals

Finally, the development of AI could also pose ethical and moral dilemmas. As these algorithms become more intelligent, questions arise about their autonomy and decision-making capabilities. If an AI system makes a decision that is morally or ethically questionable, who is held accountable? What happens if an AI system is programmed to harm humans or perform unethical tasks?

## AI in a Nutshell

Artificial intelligence has the potential to benefit us in countless ways. From healthcare to education, finance to public safety, and the environment,

It can help us solve some of the biggest challenges facing our society. However, we must approach AI development with caution and foresight, taking steps to mitigate risks and ensure that this technology is used in ways that prioritize humanity and respect human rights. With careful planning and collaboration, we can harness the power of AI to create a better future for all!

# Artifical Intelligence: The Pros and Cons

## The Quandary of AI

Are you afraid of what AI can do or are you looking forward to the benefits it can provide?  Part of your decision would be based on personality glass is half full or the glass is half empty, but there are always consequences to technological advancements, whether for the good of humankind or for those looking to gain an upper hand in a nefarious manner. The development of the atom bomb was the result of Einstein’s theory of relativity, even though the scientist had no idea of the negative consequences his theory would bring.

Let’s take a look at both the positives and negatives of artificial intelligence and what it can potentially have for us and then you can make a decision.

## AI Overview

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to transform our world in countless ways. From healthcare to finance, and education transportation, AI can benefit mankind in a myriad of ways, but not everyone is on board with this as we will see in this article, the good and the bad of the advancements of artificial intelligence.

## The Benefits

One of the most significant benefits of AI is its potential to revolutionize healthcare. AI can analyze vast amounts of medical data, including patient records, lab results, and imaging studies.

With this information, AI algorithms can detect patterns and make predictions that could help doctors diagnose and treat diseases more accurately and quickly. It can also help identify high-risk patients, allowing doctors to intervene early and prevent diseases from progressing.

### Transportation

Another area where artificial intelligence can benefit us is in the field of transportation. Self-driving cars, buses, and trains have the potential to significantly reduce accidents, traffic congestion, and pollution. By removing the human element from driving, these vehicles can make our roads safer and more efficient.

Additionally, AI can be used to optimize traffic flow, reducing congestion and travel times. This can save time and money for individuals and businesses alike.

### Education

AI can also be used to improve education. AI-powered tutoring systems can provide personalized, adaptive learning experiences for students of all ages and abilities. By analyzing a student’s learning style, strengths, and weaknesses, these systems can create customized lesson plans that help them learn more effectively. This can lead to improved academic outcomes and greater educational equity, as students who may struggle with traditional teaching methods can receive tailored instruction that meets their needs.

### Finance

Detecting fraud, managing risk, and optimizing investments are just three of the ways AI is being used to advance the financial sector. By analyzing financial data, algorithms can detect patterns that may indicate fraudulent activity, alerting financial institutions to potential threats before they cause significant damage.

Additionally, AI can help them manage risk more effectively by predicting market fluctuations and identifying potential investments that offer high returns with low risk.

AI can also benefit society by improving public safety. AI-powered surveillance systems can detect potential threats in public spaces, alerting law enforcement and allowing them to respond more quickly. AI can also be used to analyze crime data, helping law enforcement identify patterns and allocate resources more effectively.

### The Environment

Finally, AI can benefit mankind by helping us protect the environment. By analyzing environmental data, AI can help us understand the impacts of human activity on the planet and develop strategies to mitigate them. For example, AI can help us optimize energy consumption, reduce waste, and improve recycling efforts. Additionally, AI can help us predict and respond to natural disasters, reducing their impact on human lives and property.

## The Benefits of AI – A Summary

AI has the potential to benefit mankind in countless ways. From healthcare to education, finance to public safety, and the environment. It can help us solve some of the biggest challenges facing our society. However, we must approach AI development with caution and foresight, taking steps to mitigate risks and ensure that it is used in ways that prioritize human welfare and respect for human rights. With careful planning and collaboration, we can harness the power of machine learning to create a better future for all.

## Potential Dangers

Artificial Intelligence can pose significant dangers that need to be addressed. Similar to the potential dangers of the use of quantum computers, the same threats are associated with AI.

One concern is the potential for it to be used in ways that violate privacy or human rights. Additionally, the use of AI in decision-making processes could result in biases or discrimination if the algorithms are not carefully designed and monitored. Finally, there is the risk that it could become too powerful, leading to unintended consequences or even threatening human existence.

## The Labor Question

As AI technology advances, it becomes increasingly capable of performing tasks that were once done by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption. For example, self-driving cars have the potential to replace human drivers, which would lead to unemployment in the transportation sector. This could result in a significant reduction in the workforce and an increase in social inequality.

## AI and Bias

Another danger of AI is its ability to perpetuate biases and discrimination. AI algorithms are designed to learn from data, and if the data used is biased, the AI will also be biased. This can result in unfair decisions being made by AI systems, such as in hiring, lending, or criminal justice. This can have significant negative impacts on individuals and communities.

## Global Security

Furthermore, AI could pose a significant threat to global security. With advancements in AI technology, it is becoming increasingly possible for AI systems to be used in cyber-attacks or even to control weapons systems. This could lead to significant risks and damages, such as loss of life or damage to critical infrastructure.

## Nefarious Exploitation

Finally, the development of AI could also pose ethical and moral dilemmas. As machine language systems become more intelligent, questions arise about their autonomy and decision-making capabilities. If an AI system makes a decision that is morally or ethically questionable, who is held accountable? What happens if it is programmed to harm humans or perform unethical tasks?

## In a Nutshell

While AI has the potential to bring significant benefits, it is important to be cautious in its development and use. The dangers of should be taken seriously and addressed through proper regulation and oversight. It is important to ensure that AI systems are developed and used responsibly and ethically to minimize the potential risks and maximize the benefits of this technology.

To mitigate these risks, we must approach AI with caution and foresight. We must ensure that AI is developed and used in ways that prioritize human welfare and respect human rights. This requires ongoing dialogue and collaboration between technologists, policymakers, and the public.

With that said, we do have the opportunity to live better in all aspects of our lives and it is well worth something for all of us to look forward to!

# The Nike Missile System

## Introduction

A fairly unknown army base lies in a little peninsula on the north shore of New Jersey. It is not in use now but once was a thriving anti-missile installation where soldiers would be on alert for enemy missiles and planes heading towards New York City.

## The Cold Days

It was the Cold War and enemy nations, namely the Soviet Union were working tirelessly towards advancements in jet planes and ballistic missile production. Given this, the United States established anti-aircraft systems across the country. They were strategically deployed around the major cities to combat this potential threat.

Due to the accelerated research and development that was occurring, missile technology took a giant leap forward. Additionally, the fear of Russian Bear Bombers entering American airspace was becoming more imminent than the threat of German or Japanese aircraft entering the United States after Pearl Harbor.

## The Nike Missile System

Beginning in 1954, Nike Missiles replaced the gun batteries located across the United States. These were supersonic (Marc 2.25) command guidance systems and solid rocket booster missiles. They were designed to intercept long-range Soviet bombers and destroy them while still over the ocean.

Soldiers stationed at these sites were on 24-hour turnaround shifts and lived in ready-made barracks. Examples of Nike Missile battery sites were Fort Tilden and Fort Hancock, New York, which had a Missile Launch Area (the radar area), AKA, the Integrated Fire Control Area (IFC).

The sites had two missile batteries, known as double battery sites, and subsequently, each battery had two underground storage rooms for a total of four magazines at each site.

A missile magazine is the hardened storage barrier where the missile lies when inactive. Rooms accompanied the magazines; each had an elevator unit that raised and lowered the missiles.

## Enter Ajax and Hercules

The Ajax was the first Nike Missile deployed. It was designed to destroy aircraft from 30 miles away. By 1958, a new, more advanced rocket replaced the Ajax, called the Hercules, which had a range of over 96 miles and was designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

Unbeknownst to the general public, there were close to 250 Nike missile bases across the United States and more located in Europe. The New York City area contained one of the largest networks of anti-aircraft Nike batteries, with over 20 sites circling the city in New York State and New Jersey.

## From Missile Defense to Missile Offense

### Cold War

Building anti-missile bases was just one aspect of the country’s overall defense. In 1958 the North American Air Defense Command –  NORAD, (now called the North American Aerospace Defense Command) was commissioned.

Its origins trace back after World War II when the US and Canada began cooperating in air defense against the Soviet bomber threat.

In 1956, the two countries proposed to form an air defense system, and two years later, the joint Canada-US Military Study Group recommended more radar networks.

General Earle E. Partridge, the commander in chief of the newly formed joint US Command, Continental AirDefense Command (CONAD), directed another study of North America defense, which eventually led to the establishment of a combined air defense organization (NORAD) under a single commander,

## The Ending of the Cold War

### Defense

The takedown of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and resulted in the United States becoming the only superpower left.

Nike missiles were part of the U.S. Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM), and in agreement with the SALT treaty, all missiles were decommissioned and removed in 1974; however, a few remain. The Sandy Hook, New Jersey, (NY-56) site is one of those Nike missile batteries that are currently open to the public.

NORAD’s mission remains however, and it now provides aerospace warnings for North America, which includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.

## Offense

The removal of the Nike missiles was not the end of missile deployment. It was only the beginning. After they were removed, a new, much more powerful rocket – the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile or ICBM, was deployed on both sides of the Atlantic, and still exists today.

These missiles are not anti-aircraft designed for defense, but take on an offensive posture following the Cold War strategy – A good defense is a good offense, or as some call it, “Peace Through Strength”.

### 2023

Given the recent events following the surveillance balloon from China and its intrusion into US airspace, NORAD has modified its sensory equipment to detect smaller objects such as balloons.

## What the Future Holds

No one can say for sure where this world is heading, but given the war in Ukraine, China’s threat to take over Taiwan, and Iran’s passion to build a nuclear weapon, it is essential that NORAD remains in existence and possibly a reevaluation of this nations air defense might be prudent.

# An In-depth Look at How Steam Engines Work and Their Impact on History

## ‍Overview

The power of steam has had a significant impact on the history of humankind and the concept of how they work is fascinating. From the Industrial Revolution to the modern-day, steam engines have been used to power the world in a variety of ways.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how steam engines work and the impact they’ve had on history. We’ll explore the science behind how steam is generated and how its energy is used to power machines.

We’ll also discuss the various applications, from powering locomotives to generating electricity. By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the science, history, and impact of steam engines.

## History

The first steam engines were used in the mid-17th century to pump water out of gold and silver mines. The first steam-powered ship, the SS Savannah was launched in 1819. However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that steam engines were widely used for industrial production.

While the first steam-powered locomotive was built in 1829, it wasn’t until the 1850s that railroads began to widely use them.

The Industrial Revolution was a time of incredible innovation and growth in the mid-19th century. The invention of the steam engine during this period greatly contributed to its growth.

Many of the machines and products we use every day were first developed during this period. Engines powered by steam were used to power textile mills and other industries. They drove a variety of machines, from looms to cranes. They were used to power the bellows (furnaces) for forges. Forges were used to make swords, knives, agricultural tools, and many other metal products.

## How Steam is Generated

Before we can discuss how steam engines work, we first need to understand how the energy source for these engines is produced.

### Boiling Point

Steam is the result of water being heated past its boiling point. When water is heated past 212° F (100°C), it turns into a gas, which is steam. The result is that the volume of steam (the amount of space that a substance or object occupies) is always greater than that of water; therefore, it will want to push its way out of the container if the container is not large enough to hold it.

This is why it is recommended not to place aerosol spray cans near heating sources. The spray is in liquid form but if it is near a heating source and the liquid starts to boil and turns into steam, there is a chance that the can will explode, since the steam needs to expand.

### The mechanism for Boiling the Water

Boilers are what are used to boil the water into steam. There are several types of boilers, but they all have one thing in common: they are enclosed vessels that contain water.

Steam boilers are used to power a variety of machines. The most well-known application was to power locomotives. As we mentioned above, when water is converted into steam, the steam will push its way out and if this force of pressure is harnessed in a way that it can be regulated, it becomes a source of energy that can become very useful.

In the steam engine, there are openings in the boiler to let the steam out, and when this steam comes out, it becomes a force pressure on which anything it touches will have an effect; in other words, if there is a wheel barrel next to where the steam is thrust out, it will propel the wheel barrel quite a distance.

### Enter the Piston

If the steam is connected to a piston, which is a cylindrical body inside a container (noted in green), usually metal that slides down when a force hits it (in this cases steam), it will move, and if another object is connected to the piston, (where the white hole is at the bottom) such as a wheel, the piston will then move the wheel.

Now picture a row of pistons set up to move when the power of the steam hits on it, it can then move any number of wheels.

Pistons have an additional feature and that is their ability to move back up to the top of their cylinder once the force of the steam stops, and if this process is regulated so that the steam comes out at regular intervals, the wheels that the pistons are connected to will keep on rolling.

This is how steam locomotives work, not to mention steamboats and machinery in factories as you will read further on.

Steam engines are also used to generate electricity in power plants. When it is generated in a boiler and then forced through a turbine, it spins a wheel, which is connected to a generator. This generates electrical energy via electromagnetism (the creation of electric current by spinning magnets).

## Applications of Steam Engines

### Locomotives

Locomotives were all the rage in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it was the most common application of steam engines during the Industrial Revolution.

They were used to pull freight and passenger trains and were especially useful for transporting goods over long distances since they were much more efficient than horse-drawn wagons.

Additionally, these trains were able to climb steep hills.

### Ships

Many people think that steam engines came into widespread use on land, but they were also used to power ships. Ships were initially powered by wind and muscle power, but when the power of steam came along, they were used to power commercial ships in the early 1800s.

Steam engines were used in larger ships, such as steamships, which sailed between Europe and the United States. A perfect example is the Titanic. Although it came to a tragic end it was a giant and beautiful steamship that traveled across the Atlantic and powered everything from the kitchen cooking appliances to the giant pistons that moved the ship.

### Automotive

Steam engines are used to power automobiles in two ways. Some steam cars use a steam engine to power the wheels. Others use steam to generate electricity that can be used to power an electric motor. Steam cars have a long history dating back to the early 1900s. They were used throughout the 20th century until they were largely replaced by internal combustion engines.

### Factories

Another common use was to power factories. They were used to mass-produce goods, and the engines were used to power the machinery that was used to produce goods, such as lathes, looms, and other industrial machinery.

## Modern-Day Uses of Steam Engines

As we progress into the 21st century, the employment of steam is still being used for various purposes. They are often used in remote areas, such as deserts and mountains, where electrical grids are not available. In these areas, steam engines generate electricity.

### Power Generation

Electrical power plants are no exception and there are still power grids in the US and around the world that use steam to generate electricity. The steam used in a power plant is usually generated by burning coal or natural gas, which then drives the pumps that transport water uphill.

## Conclusion

The impact of steam engines on history can’t be overstated. It is estimated that steam engines powered about 90% of the world’s industrial production around the start of the 20th century, which greatly contributed to the growth of many industries.

The textile industry, for instance, could not have grown to its current size without the use of steam. They were used to power the looms that were necessary for producing textiles on a large scale. Steam engines also helped transform the iron and steel industry. Before the invention of steam engines, the iron was produced in small forges. Once steam engines were used in forges, iron production could be carried out at larger scales. It also contributed to the growth of agriculture by powering irrigation systems.

# The Space Shuttle Program

## The End of a Successful Era in Space and the Beginning of a New One

In 1975, the Apollo space program came to an end, along with it a legacy of unparalleled achievements, but this was only the beginning.

NASA was already working on a new venture for a more efficient spacecraft that they could reuse instead of relying on the disposable rockets that cost them billions of dollars to build each time.

This idea of a reusable rocket that could launch astronauts into space, but dock and land like an airplane were well-accepted for future space travel.

## Enter the Space Shuttle Program

In 1972, President Nixon announced that NASA would develop a reusable space transportation system (STS). They decided that the shuttle would consist of an orbiter attached to solid rocket boosters and an external fuel tank. This design was considered safer and more cost-effective.

One of the first obstacles was to design a spacecraft that didn’t use ablative heat shields, which subsequently burned up each time the shuttle re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

For the shuttle to be reusable, a different strategy would have to be initiated. The designers came up with an idea to overlay the craft with insulating ceramic tiles that would absorb the heat of reentry, without causing any danger to the astronauts.

## The First Flights

The first of four test flights began in 1981, leading to operational flights starting in 1982. They were used on a total of 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The launchpad used was the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Like the previous Saturn V rocket, the Space Shuttle had different components of its own, which included the Orbiter Vehicle (OV), a pair of recoverable solid rocket boosters (SRBs), and the expendable external tank (ET), containing liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as fuel.

The Shuttle was launched vertically, the same as any rocket in its category would launch, using the two SRBs to jettison it. The SRBs operated in a parallel fashion by utilizing the fuel from the ET.

Once the mission had been completed, the shuttle would land similar to a jet aircraft on the runway of the Shuttle Landing Facility of KSC or Rogers Dry Lake in Edwards Air Force Base, California. After landing at the base, the orbiter was then flown back to the KSC on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, which was a specially modified Boeing 747.

## Tragedy Hits

Although the accomplishments that the shuttle program has achieved are beyond expectations, there were two unfortunate events during its time.

### Challenger January 28, 1986

Shortly after liftoff, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded f the U.S. space shuttle orbiter Challenger, claiming the lives of seven astronauts.

Among those who were lost were teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe, commander Francis (Dick) Scobee, pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Ronald McNair, and Hughes Aircraft engineer Gregory Jarvis.

### Columbia Feb 1, 2003

It was the final mission of Columbia. Seven crew members lost their lives when the shuttle burned up over the state of Texas during its reentry on Feb 1, 2003.

# The Basics of Electric Generators

## What are Electric Generators?

Electric generators are the opposite of electric motors, but they work on the same concept. Whereby an electric motor uses an electric current to create a magnetic field, a generator uses a  magnetic field to induce an electric current. If you read our article on electric motors, then this should sound very familiar. The process is only reversed.

The current that is produced flows through a conductor which is usually a wire, but it can also be a metal plate. The output of the current is then used to power anything from a small device (e.g. a lamp or computer) to an entire town or city.

## What They are Used For

Generators are used to create electricity which then powers homes and businesses. They can be powered by either an electromagnet or a permanent magnet. The type of generator you use will determine how much electricity you can generate.

They are often used to provide backup power in case of a power outage, and they are also used in many portable applications such as camping and RVing. Just about all emergency facilities have backup power, such as hospitals.

In some cases, generators can also be used to supplement the main power source, providing additional power during high-demand periods.

The most common power sources are fuels such as coal, natural gas, or oil.

## How Does an Electric Generator Create Energy?

When the generator is turned on, its moving parts create a magnetic field, producing an electric current. (Remember with electric motors, an electric current is produced that provides a magnetic field. This is the opposite of what generators do.) The current flows through wires to an external circuit, where it can be used to power electric devices. In this way, an electric generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.

## What are the different types of electric generators available on the market today?

The most common type uses a combustion engine to generate electricity. These engines can be powered by gasoline, diesel, natural gas, or propane.

Another type is the steam turbine, which uses steam to power a turbine that generates electricity. Steam turbines can be powered by coal, nuclear reactors, or solar thermal power plants.

The third type of generator is the hydroelectric generator, which uses water to power a turbine that generates electricity. Hydroelectric generators can be powered by waterfalls, dams, or river currents. The Niagara Project is a perfect example of the delivery of electricity via hydroelectric generators.

The fourth type of generator is the wind turbine, which uses wind to power a turbine that generates electricity, but there must be enough wind for the proper amount of electricity to be produced.

Wind turbines can be used in both onshore and offshore locations.

## How Can You Choose the Right Electric Generator for Your Needs and Budget?

With so many different brands, models, and features to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start. However, by considering a few factors, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect generator for your needs and budget.

First, decide what type of generator you need. For example, if you only need power for occasional use, such as during a power outage, a portable generator may be sufficient.

However, if you need a constant supply of electricity, such as for a construction site or an RV, a stationary generator would be a better choice.

Next, consider how much power you will need. For most applications, a small generator that produces around 2,000 watts will suffice.

However, if you need to run large appliances or multiple devices at once, you’ll need a more powerful model. Finally, compare prices to find the best value for your money. Be sure to factor in the cost of fuel and maintenance when making your decision. By considering these factors, you can find the perfect electric generator for your needs and budget.

## Important Safety Tips

First, always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before operating the generator. This will help you to understand how the generator works and what safety measures need to be taken.

Next, make sure that the generator is properly grounded before use. This will help to prevent electrical shock. Finally, never operate the generator near flammable materials or in enclosed spaces, as this can create a fire hazard.

By following these simple safety tips, you can help to ensure that your experience with an electric generator is safe and enjoyable.

# How an Electric Motor Works

## Overview

When an electric current runs through a wire, a magnetic field is produced and when there is a magnetic field, metallic elements become attracted to it. This is the concept behind the workings of an electric motor.

If we can maintain these elements to move towards the magnetic field and away from it at an ongoing, continuous rate, we can have a device that is constantly spinning.

If we attach something to the part of the device that is constantly spinning, such as a glass plate in the microwave, we have harnessed the power of converting electrical energy into mechanical energy, or more specifically, we have created an electric motor.

## What Devices Use Electric Motors?

When you use an electric razor, toothbrush, fan, or vacuum cleaner, you are using an electric motor. Let’s through the inner workings of your car also. That’s probably no surprise, but how about this: washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves, your computer, and even your smartphone!

Confused? Don’t be. Something is needed to operate the refrigerator’s compressor. If there is a mechanical hard drive in your computer, then there is a small motor that turns the disk. And microwaves? Well, something must be spinning that glass plate around, right?

And your electric cars (if you have one). They have motors, which are used to spin the tires as you drive, among other things.

The bottom line is you probably go about your day using some device that uses an electric motor. So now that we know how our lifestyles are affected by these devices, let’s delve into how these motors work.

## The Working of an Electric Motor

First, let us focus on the magnetic field that causes the components within the motor to constantly spin.

How is the magnetic field created? Our article on magnetic fields explains this, but in a nutshell, if we connect a wire to a battery, the electrons of each of the atoms will move toward the positive pole of the battery. If we wrap the wire around a metal rod, the magnetic field intensifies.

### The Initial Stage

The motor is designed so that the magnetic poles of a rod, called a rotor are always facing the same polarity of a stationary magnet, called a stator, causing the rotor to spin around.

For example, when electricity is turned on, the polarity of one side of the rotor, let’s say the north side is initially facing the north side of the stator, so there will be that repelling effect, causing the rotor to spin in the other direction.

### The Next Stage

Well, that initial stage works just as it should because like poles repel each other, but that’s it. Then it stops, so for the rotor to keep spinning, there has to be a mechanism that will cause the poles to reverse continuously.

That is the job of the commutator. This entity keeps reversing the path of the electrons so that the poles are always repelling one another and consequently, keeps the rotor spinning.

## Key Parts of an Electric Motor

Let’s review the parts of the motor:

• Stator – The stationary part of the motor that creates the magnetic field that causes the rotor to spin. The stator is found in between two pieces of copper that conduct electricity.
• Rotor – The rotating part of the motor that is placed within the magnetic field.
• Shaft – The shaft of the motor connects the rotor to the stator and is used to power the equipment or machinery.
• Commutator – The device that reverses the polarity of the rotor. Like reversing a battery at every spin so that the electrons change course.
• Fan – The fan is used to create air flow and increase the efficiency of a motor.

## Final Words

Electric motors are all around us. They are a safe, efficient, and reliable way to power machinery and equipment. They are available in a range of sizes, voltages, and designs and can be powered by a wide range of energy sources, including fossil fuels and renewable energy sources like solar or wind.

# Electromagnetism: From the Basics to Everyday Applications

Let’s use iron for example. Touch it with another piece of iron and what happens? Nothing! Now take a bare wire, copper preferred. Wrap the copper wire around one of the pieces of iron and what happens? Still nothing!

Now grab both ends of the copper wire and connect it to a battery. What happens? Still nothing – at least nothing noticeable that the naked eye can see!

What is happening when the wires connect to the battery (called a circuit) is that the electrons were random before the circuit was completed and they straightened out, like a row of marching soldiers after the circuit is complete.

These marching electrons will point and move towards the pole ( polarity) of the battery it is connected to. Now let’s get a little more technically correct and call these marching electrons an electric current, and as these electrons (current) are moving through the wire, a magnetic field is produced.

## When There is Electric Current, There is a Magnetic Field

### But Just What is This Magnetic Field?

If we pick up the other piece of iron (which does not have the copper wire around it) and place it near the iron piece that has the wire wrapped (and thus the electric current), that isolated piece of iron suddenly moves toward the electrified one.

The reason why the iron pieces attract each other is that the iron piece with the copper wire wrapped around it (called a coil) becomes magnetic. And so, we have just created an electromagnet

For the video below, you might want to put your thinking caps on as it explains pretty well how electromagnetic forces are derived (hint: when electrons move through a wire). We suggest those that who are in school and/or have an absorption for learning continue to this video.

For those that would like to bypass such items as Maxwell’s equations and just want a cheat sheet of what is the criteria for an electromagnetic field, see our summary below.

An electromagnet can be made out of any type of metal, but iron and nickel are the ones most often used. Nickel magnets are stronger than iron magnets, but iron is cheaper.

Iron is found in most scrap yards, or you can buy it from a hardware store. The first step in making an electromagnet is to create a wire that is wrapped with a coil of metal several times. This is known as an electromagnet coil. The coil has to be wrapped around a core, which is made out of a non-magnetic material.

## The Magnetic Field

The electromagnetic field is the region of energy surrounding a magnet. The magnetic field is perpendicular to the path where the electrons flow.

## Why are Electromagnets Important?

Electromagnets are important because they can be used to power items and devices that are used by us every day. Motors and generators are just two examples. They are also used in toys, as a way of moving things around in a car or even to move things in a factory.

They are also useful because they’re easily controllable. If you want to turn the electromagnet off, you simply turn off the electric current running through it. If you want to turn it back on, you can simply turn it back on again.

## Types of Magnets

There are two types: temporary and permanent. Temporary magnets are only magnetic while electricity is running through them. Permanent magnets remain magnetic no matter what happens. This is because these magnets are not electrified. An example is the ones stuck to your fridge or another metal surface.

## Conclusion

Magnetism is created when electrons are in movement. In a practical sense, this means that if you connect a wire to a battery (power source), electrons will move from the negative pole to the positive pole of the battery.

When this happens, a force is created in addition to the electrical force, which is the magnetic force. This magnetic force ‘pushes’ perpendicular to electrical force (current), so any metal that has magnetic properties will be attracted to this force and move towards it accordingly.

The magnetic force can be strengthened by any of the following criteria.

• Take the straight wire and curl it around the medium, usually an iron bar. The result is called a coil.
• Wiring the coil more will cause the magnetic field to strengthen.
• Increasing the current; that is, increasing the speed at which the electrons travel through the coiled wire will also strengthen the magnetic field.

The practical applications of electromagnets are the ability to cause an entity to move because of this force, such as what happens inside a motor.