The difference between artificial intelligence and machine learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

AI refers to the ability of a computer or machine to mimic the cognitive functions of a human, such as learning and problem solving. This can be achieved through a variety of techniques, including rule-based systems, decision trees, and neural networks.

Machine learning, on the other hand, is a subset of AI that focuses on the ability of a computer or machine to improve its performance on a specific task through experience. This is typically done by training the machine on a large amount of data and allowing it to find patterns and make predictions based on that data.

One of the key benefits of machine learning is that it allows computers to learn and adapt without being explicitly programmed to do so. This means that they can improve their performance on a particular task over time, making them more efficient and effective.

There are many exciting applications for AI and machine learning, including natural language processing, image recognition, and predictive analytics. These technologies are already being used in a variety of industries, from healthcare to finance to retail, to improve decision making and automate processes.

While AI and machine learning have the potential to bring many benefits, it is important to consider the ethical implications of these technologies as well. As AI and machine learning systems become more advanced and widespread, it will be crucial to ensure that they are developed and used in a responsible and transparent manner.

AI and machine learning are powerful technologies that are already having a significant impact on many industries. As these technologies continue to evolve and improve, they will likely become even more important and influential in the years ahead.

Hands typing at a keyboard

Why software engineering is important

Software engineering is a crucial field within the technology industry. It involves the application of engineering principles and practices to design, develop, and maintain software systems.

Software engineers play a critical role in building the complex systems and applications that power our digital world. From the operating systems that run our computers and mobile devices, to the applications we use every day for communication, entertainment, and business, software engineers play a major role in driving our modern society.

The importance of the field cannot be overstated. We are increasingly reliant on technology, and software engineers are the backbone of all major industries. But software engineering is not just about building technology for technology’s sake. It is also about solving real-world problems and making a positive impact on society. Software engineers are responsible for creating solutions to complex challenges, such as:

  • Improving healthcare
  • Advancing scientific research
  • Enabling remote work and education
  • Systems and applications integration

Moreover, software engineering is a constantly evolving field. As technology continues to advance, software engineers must stay up-to-date on the latest tools and techniques to ensure that their systems and applications are efficient, reliable, and secure. This requires a strong foundation in computer science and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies.

Through the College of Innovation & Technology at UM-Flint, students have the opportunity to gain all of the critical foundational knowledge needed to excel in this field. Software engineers are the driving force behind the technology that powers our world, and their contributions are essential to the continued advancement of society.

Photo of physicists orbiting a simulated black hole

Why Get a Degree in Physics?

Narrowing down your options when going off to college is often not as easy as it sounds. Maybe you’re interested in engineering, perhaps finance, or maybe you’re looking to pursue a longer journey into the medical field or become the next top astronomer working for NASA. Whatever the case is, it’s hard to narrow it down sometimes!

The good news is that there is an area that covers all those potential career fields and more. You may have guessed it already, but yes, we’re talking about physics. If you want the definition of physics, we’ll have you reference your nearest search engine. However, if you want to better understand some of the reasons to study an area of science that spans the farthest edges of the known universe, or explore the world inside of us, then keep reading. The following, while not an exhaustive list, are some of the top reasons we suggest you consider studying physics.

Gain knowledge across many fields

Getting a degree in physics typically provides graduates with knowledge valuable to many career fields including but not limited to:

  • Engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Medical
  • Computer science
  • Biology
  • Journalism

Physicists are very good at problem-solving and have strong analytical skills. In a field that brings perspective at a broad level, physics graduates are good at thinking “out of the box”. If this is you, then maybe an academic path into physics is your calling!

Being a field that sits at the base of most other sciences, physics also provides an easy transition into other areas of science such as oceanography, seismology, or chemistry. You can rest assured that if you study physics, your career and/or graduate school options are vast.

Physics is for those that enjoy a challenge

Challenges are often looked at as scary or too much risk, especially when it comes to talking about your future path towards a degree. But fear not, the challenge that comes with working through a physics degree is worthwhile and rewarding upon graduation.

As a physics major you will master many concepts and tap into skills that are critical to being successful in both your program and into your career or graduate school. From research to problem-solving, mathematics to engineering and more, the path to a physics degree is one you must study and work hard towards. This also means that the best place to learn and hone your physics knowledge is in a college or university program where you have guidance through your professors and classmates.

Because physics is a combination of many areas of science and technology, it’s much harder to learn after college or on the job. This is why your undergraduate time is so valuable. We’re not saying you need to be a straight-A student, but just that you need to pick up enough to continue learning into the future.

Physics plays a major role in technology

As we navigate our way through industry 4.0, adopting all sorts of new technology such as IoT, robots, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, advances in physics are a key contributor to building upon these technologies. We wouldn’t have planes that fly for example, without Bernoulli’s principle assisting in the development of wings, or Newton’s law of motion to help develop rockets, which today send critical pieces of technology like the James Webb Space Telescope into and out of orbit to study the edges of the universe in the infrared.

There are a number of important machines that we have today because of principles discovered by physicists, from refrigerators to radio, and lasers to computers. Just like the basis that other areas of science are built on, many of these areas of technology are also built on and explained by physics principles.

Ultimately, if you’re interested in a career field that combines the most interesting parts of science and technology, then physics is a great place to focus your studies. If you’re interested in talking about a degree in physics, you can reach out to the College of Innovation & Technology at UM-Flint to explore this academic path further.

Lucrative career options

As mentioned earlier, those that study physics end up with a wide range of skills and abilities that are applicable across many industries. This provides physics graduates many opportunities to jump into jobs with great pay. Below are some of the jobs that physics graduates have held and what their medium salary ranges look like.

  • Aerospace Engineer: Bachelor’s degree and a median salary of $116,500
  • Physicist: Doctorate and median salary of $122,850
  • Computer Research Scientist: Master’s degree and median salary of $122,840
  • Astronomer: Doctorate and median salary of $114,590
  • Nuclear Engineer: Bachelor’s degree and median salary of $113,460
  • Actuary: Bachelor’s degree and median salary of $108,350
  • Microbiologist: bachelor’s degree and median salary of $75,650

While this is only a snapshot of a few possible positions based on the education level you’ve obtained, it shows that studying physics is an entry-way into some great careers. For more information on possible career paths, we found this site to be helpful.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

Is the Sun Damaging Your Electronics?

With the summer months upon us, it’s no surprise that we’re all spending a little more time outside. Maybe you’re planning an upcoming summer vacation, or maybe it’s just a relaxing day out by the pool in your own backyard. Whatever the case, there’s a good chance you probably have some of your favorite tech devices nearby to listen to music, share your summer selfies, or if you’re working remotely like many, catching up on some emails.

With the extra doses of vitamin D that we are undoubtedly enjoying, it’s important to remember that our devices like phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronics could be taking on damage from the heat, especially when excessive. Most electronics are built to withstand a moderate amount of temperature change. Most laptops for example can usually operate comfortably up to around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Your phone can also withstand some warmer temperatures, some up to around just over the 100 degree F mark. But keep in mind that these temperatures aren’t typical operating temperatures, and over time, can cause damage to your favorite electronics.

Built-in protections only go so far!

Many of our devices have built-in protections to prevent overheating when the internal temperatures of said devices get outside of that normal range; however, that doesn’t mean you are safe to leave them unattended for too long. If you’re planning a trip to the beach or a long day shopping on one of those hot summer days, you’ll want to make sure and store any electronics out of direct sunlight, under seats, in your trunk, or glove compartment if they must be left in your vehicle (though we don’t recommend it). It’s also a good idea to leave your windows slightly open to allow some airflow and keep the internal temperature of your car down, even if marginally when sitting out in the sun. 

Some of the other negative effects that high temperatures can have on your electronics include:

  • permanently shortened battery life
  • temperature warnings on devices
  • slower processors
  • warped internal components
  • unusual behavior such as touch screens not operating properly, or distorted displays
  • fading of plastics from direct sunlight

Plan ahead. Avoid costly repairs or replacements.

It’s safe to say that if you do plan a long day out in the sun or traveling with your devices, it’s always better to take them with you inside, or leave them home if you can and avoid the high repair or replacements costs due to heat damage. Many companies do offer limited and extended warranties for your devices, but also do not cover certain damages that may include overheating. You’ll want to confirm this if you plan to purchase that extended warranty.

While we don’t want to discourage you from working remotely on one of our many beautiful Michigan beaches, or getting that perfect selfie to show your summer glow, we do want to make sure you’re aware of those unfortunate affects that the heat can have on your devices. Have a great summer and don’t forget to keep your electronics cool!

What is Industry 4.0?

From water and steam power being ramped up in the first industrial revolution, to the introduction of electricity, computers, and telecommunications devices in the second and third industrial revolutions, we’ve come a long way to having industry adopt a whole new set of technologies. Ones capable of being largely autonomous with artificial intelligence and machine learning taking hold.

For manufacturers and supply chain, industry 4.0 technologies are far beyond a nice convenience to have, but necessary to assist in managing and optimizing all processes to stay competitive and meet the demands of today’s economy.

Industry 4.0 helps describe the introduction and connection of cyber-physical systems, which monitor physical processes to help make decisions (Electronics Media, 2017). Ultimately geared towards production that is faster, safer, and scalable.

What are Industry 4.0 Technologies?

When we describe industry 4.0 technologies, we’re talking about smart systems that operate and learn similarly to humans, but instead of electrical impulses and chemical signals being transmitted by neurons, they are using artificial intelligence, data analysis, and machine learning. There are many examples of these technologies and we’ll cover a few below.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing delivers services such as storage, networking, analytics, intelligence, and a few others—through the “the cloud” for flexible and quick implementation, as well as being able to scale and match a business’ needs. Microsoft provides a beginner’s guide to cloud computing that can be found here.

The main driver behind businesses adopting cloud computing is that it is scalable and flexible, so that focus can be directed towards general business operations and not on IT infrastructure that needs maintaining. There are many cloud partners available to work with such as Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365.

Smart Factories

Smart factories connect the digital with the physical. When factories layer in technologies including artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cloud computing, they’re able to monitor all production processes from the manufacturing of parts, to the supply chain, and even individuals working on the floor. This web of technology then monitors, collects, and analyzes data in order to make decisions for optimization, and even predicts potential problems and addresses them before they’re realized.

According to Statista, smart manufacturing is expected to grow close to 480 billion dollars (US) by 2023. This expected growth is a great indicator of the need for more factories to lean into smart technologies in their production processes, as well as a future where skilled tech workers will be in great demand.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is at the center of any smart factory today, as well as many other tech devices that we all have in our homes like Alexa, Siri, and some of the voice recognition tools we find ourselves using. This technology is at the center of industry 4.0. Using computers to take big data, analyze it, and then make decisions is the simple version of how we can describe it.

AI also encompasses the areas of machine and deep learning, in that the algorithms created to predict and react accordingly are AI software, and attempt to mimic the way a human brain works, though far from matching it’s ability, for now. The impact of AI on industry is a major one. The ability to scale up production models without having to compromise quality is one of the central focuses of using AI in today’s production models. Another important aspect of AI is it’s ability to be incredibly accurate as utilizes deep learning. A great example of this is how the Alexa device in many of our homes gets better and better at detecting what we’re going to ask, before we even ask it.

Industry 4.0 Job Outlook

The technology and machinery fueling the fourth industrial revolution isn’t slowing down, and neither are the opportunities for a new crowd of skilled workers in the areas of AI, robotics, digital manufacturing technology, engineering, and others.

According to Samuel Frank, many labor-intensive roles are slowly being replaced by machines that can perform the same operations quicker and safer, ultimately increasing efficiency and capacity in the production process. And though some positions are being phased out, there is an increasing demand for those skilled in being able to design, install, and maintain new technology, as well as operate all of the new machinery.

Because the projected growth rate of traditional manufacturing jobs is expected to decline further, it is important that we train those looking to enter the workforce in these critical technological systems. The University of Michigan-Flint is one of those key institutions at the forefront of bringing our next-generation workers on board with industry 4.0 knowledge and training.

UM-Flint’s College of Innovation & Technology (CIT) offers programs in the areas of:

If you have questions or would like to talk more about starting a track into an industry 4.0 career, contact CIT by visiting

Contact Dayne Hopkins at for inquiries or collaborative opportunities.