Bankrupting a City: Big Software, Complexity, and Human Shortcomings Does the Trick

September 15, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I have noticed failures in a number of systems. I have no empirical data, just anecdotal observations. In the last few weeks, I have noticed glitches in a local hospital’s computer systems. There have been some fascinating cruise ship problems. And the airlines are flying the flag for system ineptitudes. I would be remiss if I did not mention news reports about “near misses” at airports. A popular food chain has suffered six recalls in a four or five weeks.

Most of these can be traced to software issues. Others are a hot mess combination of inexperienced staff and fouled up enterprise resource planning workflows. None of the issues were a result of smart software. To correct that oversight, let me mention the propensity of driverless automobiles to mis-identify emergency vehicles or possessing some indifference to side street traffic at major intersections.

9 5 data center collapse

“The information technology manager looks at the collapsing data center and asks, “Who is responsible for this issue?” No one answers. Those with any sense have adopted the van life, set up stalls to sell crafts at local art fairs, or accepted another job. Thanks, MidJourney. I guarantee your sliding down the gradient descent is accelerating.

What’s up?

My person view is that some people do not know how complex software works but depend on it despite that cloud of unknowing. Other people just trust the marketing people and buy what seems better, faster, and cheaper than an existing system which requires lots of money to keep chugging along.

Now we have an interesting case example that incorporates a number of management and technical issues. Birmingham, England is now bankrupt. The reason? The cost of a new system sucked up the cash. My hunch is that King Charles or some other kind soul will keep the city solvent. But the idea of city going broke because it could not manage a software project is illustrative of the future in my opinion.

Largest Local Government Body in Europe Goes Under amid Oracle Disaster” reports:

Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe, has declared itself in financial distress after troubled Oracle project costs ballooned from £20 million to around £100 million ($125.5 million).

An extra £80 million would make little difference to an Apple, Google, or Microsoft. To a city in the UK, the cost is a bit of a problem.

Several observations:

  1. Large project management expertise does not deliver functional solutions. How is that air traffic control or IRS system enhancement going?
  2. Vendors rely on marketing to close deals, and then expect engineers to just make the system work. If something is incomplete or not yet coded, the failure rate may be anticipated, right? Nope, what’s anticipated in a scope change and billing more money.
  3. Government agencies are not known for smooth, efficient technical capabilities. Agencies are good at statements of work which require many interesting and often impossible features. The procurement attorneys cannot spot these issues, but those folks ride herd on the legal lingo. Result? Slips betwixt cup and lip.

Are the names of the companies involved important? Nope. The same situation exists when any enterprise software vendor wins a contract based on a wild and wooly statement of work, managed by individuals who are not particularly adept at keeping complex technical work on time and on target, and when big outfits let outfits sell via PowerPoints and demonstrations, not engineering realities.

Net net: More of these types of cases will be coming down the pike.

Stephen E Arnold, September 15, 2023

Generative AI: Not So Much a Tool But Something Quite Different

August 24, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Thirty years ago I had an opportunity to do a somewhat peculiar job. I had written for a publisher in the UK a version of a report my team and I prepared about Japanese investments in its Fifth Generation Computer Revolution or some such government effort. A wealthy person who owned a medium-sized financial firm asked me if I would comment on a book called The Meaning of the Microcosm. “Sure,” I said.

8 24 sea creature

This tiny, cute technology creature has just crawled from the ocean, and it is looking for lunch. Who knew that it could morph into a much larger and more disruptive beast? Thanks, MidJourney. No review committee for me this morning.

What I described was technology’s Darwinian behavior. I am not sure I was breaking new ground, but it seemed safe for me to point to how a technology survived. Therefore, I argued in a private report to this wealthy fellow, that if betting on a winner would make one rich. I tossed in an idea that I have thought about for many years; specifically, as technologies battle to “survive,” the technologies evolve and mutate. The angle I have commented about for many years is simple: Predicting how a technology mutates is a tricky business. Mutations can be tough to spot or just pop up. Change just says, “Hello, I am here.”

I thought about this “book commentary project” when I read “How ChatGPT Turned Generative AI into an Anything Tool.” The article makes a number of interesting observations. Here’s one I noted:

But perhaps inadvertently, these same changes let the successors to GPT3, like GPT3.5 and GPT4, be used as powerful, general-purpose information-processing tools—tools that aren’t dependent on the knowledge the AI model was originally trained on or the applications the model was trained for. This requires using the AI models in a completely different way—programming instead of chatting, new data instead of training. But it’s opening the way for AI to become general purpose rather than specialized, more of an “anything tool.”

I am not sure that “anything tool” is a phrase with traction, but it captures the idea of a technology that began as a sea creature, morphing, and then crawling out of the ocean looking for something to eat. The current hungry technology is smart software. Many people see the potential of combining repetitive processes with smart software in order to combine functions, reduce costs, or create alternatives to traditional methods of accomplishing a task. A good example is the use college students are making of the “writing” ability of free or low cost services like ChatGPT or

But more is coming. As I recall, in my discussion of the microcosm book, I made the point that Mr. Gilder’s point that small-scale systems and processes can have profound effects on larger systems and society as a whole. But a technology “innovation” like generative AI is simultaneously “small” and “large”. Perspective and point of view are important in software. Plus, the innovations of the transformer and the larger applications of generative AI to college essays illustrate the scaling impact.

What makes AI interesting for me at this time is that genetic / Darwinian change is occurring across the scale spectrum. On one hand, developers are working to create big applications; for instance, SaaS solutions that serve millions of users. On the other hand, shifting from large language models to smaller, more efficient methods of getting smart aim to reduce costs and speed the functioning of the plumbing.

The cited essay in Arstechnica is on the right track. However, the examples chosen are, it seems to me, ignoring the surprises the iterations of the technology will deliver. Is this good or bad? I have no opinion. What is important than wild and crazy ideas about control and regulation strike me as bureaucratic time wasting. It was millions a years ago to get out of the way of the hungry creature from the ocean of ones and zeros and try to figure out how to make catch the creature and have dinner, turn its body parts into jewelry which can be sold online, or processing the beastie into a heat-and-serve meal at Trader Joe’s.

My point is that the generative innovations do not comprise a “tool.” We’re looking at something different, semi-intelligent, and evolving with speed. Will it be let’s have lunch or one is lunch?

Stephen E Arnold, August 24, 2023

A Group without a Leader: Lost in the Digital Wilderness. No Signal, No Hope

August 10, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I read a story in a business magazine which may not make executives at a certain company happy. In fact, some of these executives may be thinking about some form of digital retribution. The story concerns Google Maps, a Google product/service which I find is pretty much unusable. Keep in mind that I am a dinobaby and dinobaby talons can’t hit the miniature graphics which cover Google maps like my ninth-grade acne. (Yeah, ugly.)

8 6 lost in wilderness

A high technology company’s project team. The group is lost. No one has any idea what to do or which direction to take. Their manager told them, “Rely on the digital maps your colleagues made.” How is that working out for you? Thanks, MidJourney. You have the desperation look nailed.

Google Maps Has Become an Eyesore. 5 Examples of How the App Has Lost Its Way” contains a list of issues the author who probably has more online experience than I do identifies five issues with the much-loved service. The “love” refers to the revenue generated from Google Maps, not the “love” or lack of it from users like me.

These range from icon acne to weird behaviors with the street name “feature.” I am not going to romp through the issues the article flags. I want to focus on two which are deal breakers for me. In fact, the digital map thing recently forced me to purchase a trucker’s edition of a printed road map to the United States.

For me, Google has made it difficult for me (probably not you, dear GenX reader) to find the street view. I quite like finding a location and then being able to look at the physical surroundings. How do I address this need now? I use Bing Maps.

The second issue that drives me crazy is the omission of businesses (intentionally or unintentionally) because the business does not advertise. I have written about the Cuba Libre Restaurant issue, and it bedevils me even today. I was standing in front of the bustling Washington, DC, restaurant, but my digital map service did not show it. Objectivity, they name is not Googzilla, I say.

Let me shift gears and offer my hypothesis why Google Maps is almost unusable for me.

Imagine a team responsible for a mapping product. There are a couple of people who have some tenure with the team. A couple have escaped from a more dysfunctional team; for example, a failed smart software project. Plus, there are two new hires with zero clue how or why they are working on maps. These individuals are experts in data center engineering and never leave the servers and, therefore, don’t know anything about maps, just wiring diagrams.

Okay, now the group sits around and someone says, “What are we supposed to do?” The most senior person who is totally occupied about getting on a hot team focused on killing another vendor’s AI effort, says, “Let’s just come up with some ideas and implement a couple.” The group mumbles, plays with their mobile devices, chats with the data center wizard about slow response on the internal messaging system, and look out the windows. One hard charger says, “Let’s make a list of ideas on the whiteboard, rank them, and do the top two or three.” More mumbles. A list is generated. The six team breaks into two groups and the employees retreat to the snack area to talk about implementing the functions. The work is agreed upon and the coding is dumped on the two network professionals. These individuals write the code, make sure it doesn’t kill anything, and emails it to the others on the team. No one looks at it but everyone says, “Fine.” Done.

This work procedure evidences:

  1. Zero guidance from an involved, motivated “manager”
  2. The mental attitude of the engineers
  3. The indifference of the individuals to the idea of delivering useful, quality features.

Now the author of the article about Google Maps knows nothing about this modern management approach to adding features at an unnamed high technology company.

That’s why I don’t rely on digital maps. The printed map works just fine. Plus I have to stop and read the map. None of the figure out a map driving or walking, which can lead to a collision with a smart, self driving automobile or an engineer looking for work at another company.

Stephen E Arnold, August 10, 2023

What Will Smart Software Change?

August 3, 2023

Note: Dinobaby here: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid. Services are now ejecting my cute little dinosaur gif. (´?_?`) Like my posts related to the Dark Web, the MidJourney art appears to offend someone’s sensibilities in the datasphere. If I were not 78, I might look into these interesting actions. But I am and I don’t really care.

Today (July 27, 2023) a person told me about “Photographs of People Making Books at the Collins Factory in 1960s Glasgow.” The write up is less compelling than the photographs. The online article features workers who:

  • Organize products for shipping
  • Setting type slugs with a hammer and chisel
  • A person stitching book folios together
  • A living artist making a plate
  • A real person putting monotype back in a case.

I mention this because I have seen articles which suggest that smart software will not cause humans to lose their jobs. It took little time for publishers to cut staff and embrace modern production methods. It took less time for writers to generate a PDF and use an Amazon-type service to promote, sell, and distribute a book. Now smart software is allegedly poised to eliminate writers.

Will AI really create more work for humans?

The 1960s photos suggest that technology eliminates jobs in my opinion as it disrupts established work procedures and vaporizes norms which glue social constructs together. Anyone you know have the expertise to seat metal type with a hammer and chisel? I suppose I should have asked, “Does anyone near you scroll TikToks?”

Stephen E Arnold, August 3, 2023

The Authority of a Parent: In Question?

August 3, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

If we cannot scan the kids, let us scan the guardians. That is what the ESRB, digital identity firm Yoti, and kiddie marketing firm SuperAwesome are asking the Federal Trade Commission according to The Register‘s piece, “Watchdog Mulls Online Facial Age-Verification Tech—For Kids’ Parents.” The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires websites and apps to make kids under 13 get a parent’s permission before they can harvest that sweet, early stage personal data. It is during the next step the petitioners would like to employ age-verification software on the grown-ups. As writer Jessica Lyons Hardcastle describes, the proposed process relies on several assumptions. She outlines the steps:

“1. First, a child visits a website and hits an age gate. The operator then asks the kid for their parent’s email, sends a note to the parent letting them know that they need to verify that they’re an adult for the child to proceed, and offers the facial-age scanning estimation as a possible verification method.

2. (Yes, let’s assume for a moment that the kid doesn’t do what every 10-year-old online does and lie about their age, or let’s assume the website or app has a way of recognizing it’s dealing with a kid, such as asking for some kind of ID.)

3. If the parent consents to having their face scanned, their system then takes a selfie and the software provides an age estimate.

4. If the age guesstimate indicates the parent is an adult, the kid can then proceed to the website. But if it determines they are not an adult, a couple of things happen.

5. If ‘there is some other uncertainty about whether the person is an adult’ then the person can choose an alternative verification method, such as a credit card, driver’s license, or social security number.

6. But if the method flat out decides they are not an adult, it’s a no go for access. We’re also going to assume here that the adult is actually the parent or legal guardian.”

Sure, why not? The tech works by converting one’s face into a set of numbers and feeding that to an AI that has been trained to assess age with those numbers. According to the ESRB, the actual facial scans are not saved for AI training, marketing, or any other purpose. But taking them, and their data-hungry partners, at their word is yet another assumption.

Cynthia Murrell, August 3, 2023

When Wizards Flail: The Mysteries of Smart Software

July 18, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

How about that smart software stuff? VCs are salivating. Whiz kids are emulating Sam AI-man. Users are hoping there is a job opening for a Wal-Mart greeter. But there is a hitch in the git along; specifically, some bright experts are not able to understand what smart software does to generate output. The cloud of unknowing is thick and has settled over the Land of Obfuscation.

Even the Scientists Who Build AI Can’t Tell You How It Works” has a particularly interesting kicker:

“We built it, we trained it, but we don’t know what it’s doing.”

7 15 ai math

A group of artificial intelligence engineers struggling with the question, “What the heck is the system doing?” A click of the slide rule for MidJourney for this dramatic depiction of AI wizards at work.

The write up (which is an essay-interview confection) includes some thought-provoking comments. Here are three; you can visit the cited article for more scintillating insights:

Item 1: “… with reinforcement learning, you say, “All right, make this entire response more likely because the user liked it, and make this entire response less likely because the user didn’t like it.”

Item 2: “… The other big unknown that’s connected to this is we don’t know how to steer these things or control them in any reliable way. We can kind of nudge them

Item 3: “We don’t have the concepts that map onto these neurons to really be able to say anything interesting about how they behave.”

Item 4: “… we can sort of take some clippers and clip it into that shape. But that doesn’t mean we understand anything about the biology of that tree.”

Item 5: “… because there’s so much we don’t know about these systems, I imagine the spectrum of positive and negative possibilities is pretty wide.”

For more of this type of “explanation,” please, consult the source document cited above.

Several observations:

  1. I like the nudge and watch approach. Humanoids learning about what their code does may be useful.
  2. The nudging is subjective (human skill) and the reference to growing a tree and not knowing how that works exactly. Just do the bonsai thing. Interesting but is it efficient? Will it work? Sure or at least as Silicon Valley thinking permits
  3. The wide spectrum of good and bad. My reaction is to ask the striking writers and actors what their views of the bad side of the deal is. What if the writers get frisky and start throwing spit balls or (heaven forbid) old IBM Selectric type balls. Scary.

Net net: Perhaps Google knows best? Tensors, big computers, need for money, and control of advertising — I think I know why Google tries so hard to frame the AI discussion. A useful exercise is to compare what Google’s winner in the smart software power struggle has to say about Google’s vision. You can find that PR emission at this link. Be aware that the interviewer’s questions are almost as long at the interview subject’s answers. Does either suggest downsides comparable to the five items cited in this blog post?

Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2023

Financial Analysts, Lawyers, and Consultants Can See Their Future

July 17, 2023

It is the middle of July 2023, and I think it is time for financial analysts, lawyers, and consultants to spruce up their résumés. Why would a dinobaby make such a suggestion to millions of the beloved Millennials, GenXers, the adorable GenY folk, and the vibrant GenZ lovers of TikTok, BMWs, and neutral colors?

I read three stories helpfully displayed by my trusty news reader. Let’s take a quick look at each and offer a handful of observations.

The first article is “This CEO Replaced 90% of Support Staff with an AI Chatbot.” The write up reports:

The chief executive of an Indian startup laid off 90% of his support staff after the firm built a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that he says can handle customer queries much faster than his employees.

Yep, better, faster, and cheaper. Pick all three which is exactly what some senior managers will do. AI is now disrupting. But what about “higher skill” jobs than talking on the phone and looking up information for a clueless caller?

The second article is newsy or is it newsie? “Open AI and Associated Press Announce Partnership to Train AI on New Articles” reports:

[The deal] will see OpenAI licensing text content from the AP archives that will be used for training large language models (LLMs). In exchange, the AP will make  use of OpenAI’s expertise and technology — though the media company clearly emphasized in a release that it is not using generative AI to help write actual news stories.

Will these stories become the property of the AP? Does Elon Musk have confidence in himself?

7 14 sad female writer

Young professionals learning that they are able to find their future elsewhere. In the MidJourney confection is a lawyer, a screenwriter, and a consultant at a blue chip outfit selling MBAs at five times the cost of their final year at university.

I think that the move puts Google in a bit of a spot if it processes AP content and a legal eagle can find that content in a Bard output. More significantly, hasta la vista reporters. Now the elimination of hard working, professional journalists will not happen immediately. However, from my vantage point in rural Kentucky, I hear the train a-rollin’ down the tracks. Whooo Whooo.

The third item is “Producers Allegedly Sought Rights to Replicate Extras Using AI, Forever, for Just $200.” The write up reports:

Hollywood’s top labor union for media professionals has alleged that studios want to pay extras around $200 for the rights to use their likenesses in AI – forever – for just $200.

Will the unions representing these skilled professionals refuse to cooperate? Does Elon Musk like Grimes’s music?

A certain blue chip consulting firm has made noises about betting $2 billion on smart software and Microsoft consulting. Oh, oh. Junior MBAs, it may not be too late to get an associate of arts degree in modern poetry so you can work as a prompt engineer. As a famous podcasting person says, “What say you?”

Several questions:

  1. Will trusted, reliable, research supporting real news organizations embrace smart software and say farewell to expensive humanoids?
  2. Will those making videos use computer generated entities?
  3. Will blue chip consulting firms find a way to boost partners’ bonuses standing on the digital shoulders of good enough software?

I sure hope you answered “no” to each of these questions. I have a nice two cruzeiro collectable from Brazil, circa 1952 to sell you. Make me an offer. Collectible currency is an alternative to writing prompts or becoming a tour guide in Astana. Oh, that’s in Kazakhstan.

Smart software is a cost reducer because humanoids [a] require salaries and health care, [b] take vacations, [c] create security vulnerabilities or are security vulnerabilities, and [d] require more than high school science club management methods related to sensitive issues.

Money and good enough will bring changes in news, Hollywood, and professional services.

Stephen E Arnold, July 17, 2023

Microsoft Causing Problems? Heck, No

July 14, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I cruised through the headlines my smart news system prepared for me. I noted two articles on different subjects. The two write ups were linked with a common point of reference: Microsoft Corp., home of the Softies and the throbbing heart of a significant portion of the technology governments in North America and Western Europe find essential.

7 13 no problem

“What’s the big deal?” asks Mr. Microsoft. “You have Windows. You have Azure. Software has bugs. Get used to it. You can switch to Linux anytime.” Thin interesting scene is the fruit of MidJourney’s tree of creativity.

The first article appeared in TechRadar. an online real news outfit. The title was compelling; specifically, “Windows 11 Update Is Reportedly Slowing Down PCs and Breaking Internet Connections.” The write up reports:

KB5028185, the ‘Moment 3’ update, is proving seriously problematic for some users … The main bones of contention with patch KB5028185 for Windows 11 22H2 are instances of performance slowdown – with severe cases going by some reports – and problems with flaky internet connections.

The second story appeared on cable “real” news. I tracked down the item titled “US and Microsoft Sound Alarm about China-Based Cybersecurity Threat.” The main idea seems to be:

The U.S. and Microsoft say China-based hackers, focused on espionage, have breached email accounts of about two dozen organizations, including U.S. government agencies.

Interesting. Microsoft seems to face two challenges: Desktop engineering and cloud engineering. The common factor is obviously engineering.

I am delighted that Bing is improving with smart software. I am fascinated by Microsoft’s effort to “win” in online games. However, isn’t it time for something with clout to point out that Microsoft may need to enhance its products’ stability, security, and reliability.

Due to many organizations’ and individuals’ dependence on Microsoft, the company seems to have a knack for creating a range of issues. Will someone step up and direct the engineering in a way that does not increase vulnerability and cause fiduciary loss for its customers?

Anyone? Crickets I fear. Bad actors find Microsoft’s approach more satisfying than a stream of TikTok moments.

Stephen E Arnold, July 14, 2023

A Lesson in Negotiation: A Scholarly Analysis of the Musk-Zuck Interaction

July 10, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Zuck Is a Cuck: Elon Musk Ramps Up His Attacks on Mark Zuckerberg With Shocking Tweet” provides an example of mature decision making, eloquent rhetoric, and the thrill of the high school insult. Maybe, it is a grade-school thrill, similar to someone pointing at overweight me with thick glasses and a book to read just for fun. I can hear the echoes of these memorable words, “Look at smarty pants. Yah yah yah.” I loved every minute of these insults.

7 10 teens fight

“What did you call me? You keep your mouth shut or my friends and I will post on both Threads and Twitter that you do drugs and steal to buy junk.” Yes, the intellectual discourse of those in the prime of adolescence. And what’s the rejoinder, “Yeah, well, I will post those pix you sent me and email them to your loser mom. What do you think about that, you, you [censored]?”

The cited article from Mediaite (which I don’t know how to pronounce) reports:

Threads drew tens of millions of users since its launch three days ago, so the competition between Musk and Zuckerberg is being waged on social, legal, and perhaps even physical fronts with talk of a cage match fight between the two. Despite the numerous setbacks Twitter has seen since Musk took it over, he has spent the weekend hyping up improvements to the platform while taking shots at Zuckerberg.

What business school teaching moment is this? [a] Civil discourse triumphs, [b] Friendly competition is a net positive, [c] Ad hominem arguments are an exceptional argumentative tool, [d] Emotional intelligence is a powerful opportunity magnet.

What? Why no [e] All of the above?

Note for those who don’t like my characterization of Silicon Valley luminaries’ manifestation of “the high school science club management method. Isn’t it time to accept HS-SC-MM as the one “true way” to riches, respect, and power?

Stephen E Arnold, July 10, 2023

Databricks: Signal to MBAs and Data Wranglers That Is Tough to Ignore

June 29, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Do you remember the black and white pictures of the Pullman riots? No, okay. Steel worker strikes in Pittsburgh? No. Scuffling outside of Detroit auto plants? No. Those images may be helpful to get a sense of what newly disenfranchised MBAs and data wranglers will be doing in the weeks and months ahead.

Databricks Revolutionizes Business Data Analysis with AI Assistant” explains that the Databricks smart software

interprets the query, retrieves the relevant data, reads and analyzes it, and produces meaningful answers. This groundbreaking approach eliminates the need for specialized technical knowledge, democratizing data analysis and making it accessible to a wider range of users within an organization. One of the key advantages of Databricks’ AI assistant is its ability to be trained on a company’s own data. Unlike generic AI systems that rely on data from the internet, LakehouseIQ quickly adapts to the specific nuances of a company’s operations, such as fiscal year dates and industry-specific jargon. By training the AI on the customer’s specific data, Databricks ensures that the system truly understands the domain in which it operates.

6 29 angry analysts

MidJourney has delivered an interesting image (completely original, of course) depicting angry MBAs and data wranglers massing in Midtown and preparing to storm one of the quasi monopolies which care about their users, employees, the environment, and bunny rabbits. Will these professionals react like those in other management-labor dust ups?

Databricks appears to be one of the outfits applying smart software to reduce or eliminate professional white collar work done by those who buy $7 lattes, wear designer T shirts, and don wonky sneakers for important professional meetings.


The DEO of Databricks (a data management and analytics firm) says:

By training their AI assistant on the customer’s specific data, Databricks ensures that it comprehends the jargon and intricacies of the customer’s industry, leading to more accurate and insightful analysis.

My interpretation of the article is simple: If the Databricks’ system works, the MBA and data wranglers will be out of a job. Furthermore, my view is that if systems like Databricks works as advertised, the shift from expensive and unreliable humans will not be gradual. Think phase change. One moment you have a solid and then you have plasma. Hot plasma can vaporize organic compounds in some circumstances. Maybe MBAs and data wranglers are impervious? On the other hand, maybe not.

Stephen E Arnold, June 29, 2023

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