Google: Technical Debt Has Implications for Some AI Cheerleaders

August 5, 2015

If you are interested in smart software, you may want to read “Machine Learning: the High Interest Credit Card of Technical Debt.” I like the credit card analogy. It combines big costs with what some folks see as a something-for-nothing feature of the modern world.

The write up is important because it makes clear the future cost of using certain machine learning methods. The paper helps explain why search and content processing companies often burn more cash than available.

The paper identifies specific cost points which most MBAs happily ignore or downplay in post mortems of failed search and content processing companies. The whiz kids, both boys and girls, rationalize their failure to deal with shifting boundaries, “dark dependencies,” expensive spaghetti, and the tendency of smart software to sort of drift off center.

There is a fix. It is just darned expensive like credit card interest as the clueless consumer just covers the interest.

Applying the Google paper to search and content processing vendors, the only positive financial outcome is to sell the dog before it dies. Shift the search and content problem “credit card debt” to some other firm.

Perhaps that helps explain the Lexmark financial challenge and the dismay at Hewlett Packard as the reality of Autonomy dawned on those quick to spend billions.

Worth reading. Well done, Googlers.

Stephen E Arnold, August 5, 2015


One Response to “Google: Technical Debt Has Implications for Some AI Cheerleaders”

  1. Further Adventures of Watson:Fantasy Football Time, Fans : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on August 12th, 2015 2:53 pm

    […] The article recycles the glories and wonders of Watson. The article does not discuss revenues, on going development costs, interest on Watson related investments, or Google’s credit card debit analysis. Link is here. […]

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