Full-stack developer & AI rockstar. About me: https://jacobbergdahl.com/. LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/2T1LzgW.

Artificial intelligence can improve any activity

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Your journey into AI is a lot easier if you have a strategy. Photo by Annie Spratt.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is reinventing industry after industry. In China, AI is tutoring children in more than 1700 schools across 200 cities. In Australia, an AI created a flu vaccine that far outperformed all other existing flu vaccines. In the US, a machine-learning robot is autonomously cooking burgers. There are many incredible real world-implementations of AI. And now, with OpenAI’s recent ground-breaking language-generating algorithm called GPT-3, remarkably powerful AI solutions are pouring down like rain. Crafty developers have already deployed GPT-3 to autonomously write viral blog posts, generate web designs, and create role-playing adventures.

Machine learning technologies are more accessible than ever, but finding the business case for AI isn’t always straightforward. In this piece of writing, I would like to make AI business strategies more concrete by walking you through four AI strategies that you can use to improve any activity you could imagine. After walking through the four strategies, I’ll help you figure out which strategy to use for any given activity. …

Motivation gets us started, while habits keep us going.

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Use your bursts of motivation to build discipline, but don’t rely on motivation to keep you going. Photo by Braden Collum.

Moments of motivation find you whenever it feels like it, lingering for a little while before leaving you yearning for more. Much like energy can be obtained from a morning cup of coffee, motivation can be obtained through meditation, a phone call with a friend, or even an inspiring Reddit post. But much like your energy level is often influenced by events outside of your control, so too is motivation an unreliable force.

In my early 20’s, I used to think that successful people were constantly motivated. How else would they be able to get so many things done? I figured motivation was the key to success, and I would try different techniques to motivate myself every day. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time, it didn’t. I couldn’t control when to feel motivated. I couldn’t schedule motivation in a calendar. Instead, bursts of motivation would come and go like the next-door cat. No, what I didn’t realize is that what really keeps people going is discipline. …

Stick with no-nonsense long-term investing

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Photo by Pixabay.

Last year, I wrote a somewhat popular article on making money with stocks. Interestingly, the piece has seen another spike in its number of reads over the last week, perhaps due to people setting New Year’s goals to start investing. In that article, I spoke strongly in favor of index funds, and well, that advice still stands. See, this year isn’t off to a great start. And while I am greatly in favor of optimism in life, I am devastatingly realistic when it comes to money.

The fact that you clicked on a headline that says “Making Money On Stocks In 2021” leads me to assume that you either have savings invested somewhere that you might be inclined to move to something safer, that you have money in a bank account that’s not growing, or that you’re in a position where you can still save money off of your monthly salary. If so, first of all: congratulations. …

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Photo by Fernand De Canne.

There is an unhealthy level of GPT-3-powered snake oil being sold to non-technical readers.

There is a lot of hype surrounding OpenAI’s incredibly powerful machine learning algorithm GPT-3. The algorithm can generate convincing pieces of text with very little input required. Give it a title such as “Feeling unproductive? Maybe you should stop overthinking,” and it can generate an entire full-length cohesive article that could go viral (and it did). It can be used to perform a wide range of tasks. For instance, GPT-3 can summarize articles, generate fan fiction, and even write programming code.

There is no doubt that this is an outstanding machine learning algorithm. Some, myself included, might rightfully call it a game-changer. …

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A non-technical book that makes AI concrete, accessible, and comprehendible

Did you know?

The world’s best flu vaccine was recently discovered with artificial intelligence (AI). Progressive organizations are using AI to invent new food recipes, perfume scents, and alcoholic beverages. Children in more than 200 cities across China are being tutored by AI. In the US, AI has secured political victories for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. News articles are being written by AI autonomously. Police authorities around the globe are using AI to track and identify suspects.

AI is being used to explore Mars, scan pizzas, automate warehouses, write music, pick apples, analyze phone conversations, remake video games, detect cancer, flip burgers, mimic world leaders, commit mass-surveillance, match job candidates, and find lost dogs. …

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Photo by Caroline Attwood.

“Frankenfish” is fast-growing, healthy, and, as it were, terrifying

The year was 1989. Researchers at Memorial University had successfully managed to genetically engineer a salmon to grow quicker than ordinary Atlantic salmons. The fish was cheaper to produce than other salmons, and so a company was formed to commercially the salmon just two years later.

What followed was a 30-year struggle to make this lab-raised animal available for consumer consumption. Constantly dancing between government approval and public outrage, this polarizing salmon horrified consumers to the point where grocery stores promised never to sell it.

This is the story of a gene edited salmon.

Machine learning is an excellent assistant for inventing new products

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All illustrations in this article have been made by the author.

How do you invent a new perfume? A new dish? A new flavor of whiskey? While these products may seem wildly different, the process for creating them can be described vaguely as learning what parameters go well together and then combining them. For example, a perfumer may have about 1,300 substances available to them when crafting new fragrances. By combining some amount of these substances in new ways, one can discover a new scent.

Incidentally, this is a perfect job for a machine learning algorithm. Feed an algorithm with information about these substances, along with formulas of past perfumes, and it too can begin to predict new scents. …

Your websites should be mobile-first, not mobile-last

I am unhealthily addicted to inspecting the websites I visit. Maybe it’s a sign that I’ve been a developer for too long, but I really do enjoy dissecting the websites I stumble upon as I surf the internet. Sometimes I’m stuck dismembering a website for hours, ultimately forgetting why or how I even arrived at the website in the first place.

You learn a lot when you dissect other peoples’ websites. I’ve seen clever JavaScript optimizations and mind-blowingly genius CSS hacks. But you at least see a lot of terrible code. I would like to talk about one common design flaw that I’ve seen far too frequently. …

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Photo by JJ Ying.

Search any search engine with speed

A handful of months ago, I learned of a neat new trick for surfing the internet, one which seems so obvious in retrospect. I learned how to browse using bangs.

Besides the obvious advantages of privacy and integrity, another reason to set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine is that you gain quick access to over 13,000 bangs. A bang is a shortcut that takes you directly to the search results of a different website. Let me illustrate it with an example.

Let’s say you want to read the Wikipedia entry for “World Wide Web.” There are a few ways of reaching this page. You could go to https://en.wikipedia.org and enter the text “World Wide Web” into the search bar. You could also do a google search for “World Wide Web Wikipedia” and click on the top result. Both of these methods require a minimum of two clicks and two pages that need to load from a server. …

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Photo by Jamie Street.

What dish will you order?

Let’s have a little thought experiment. You walk into a restaurant that has a tiny, simple menu. So tiny is it that there are only four items on the menu. You have had two of the dishes on the menu before. One of them you dislike — it wasn’t for you — but the other one you fancy quite a bit. The other two are dishes you’ve never heard of before. …

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