Re: The SQL Empire Strikes Back
Are you employed by Oracle by any chance ?
I agree that SQL is making a comeback, but your views of Oracle's product are rather optimistic.
51 posts • joined 11 Jul 2016
The problem is that AI will never be clever enough to handle fuzzy requests from white collar managers and translate them into a real product. This article also ignores the human need for (psychopath) CEO's to surround themselves with an human audience they can play and mess with. There is no fun in threatening to fire an AI bot.
Many developers are quite happy to run a linear regression on a data set without understanding the actual mathematics behind it. A similar approach can be applied to many of the machine learning algorithms available in default libraries like Scikit-learn. Unfortunately there is still a lot of machine learning snobbery out there by those who hold a PhD in Machine learning. They are preventing the wider adaptation of machine learning by criticising the simpler but still valuable implementations. Yes, you need a PhD in machine learning if you want to build a Google scheduler that can make appointments for you, but you don't need if you are trying to understand customer churn.
The difference is that the existing system, although complex, has been up and running for years, whereas the new system is still in the design phase and will be cheaply outsourced leaving the developers with little chance of delivering a robust system in the next decade.
It is naive to assume salaries are driven by skill shortage alone. They are capped by the price-demand curve of the final product. If you need to pay to much for a STEM engineer, your product will no longer be competitively priced compared to the rest of the market and your sales will decline. At a certain price point, it is not even worth investing and you are better off to invest your money in treasury bonds or some other safe asset.
Spark still offer free parallelisation and that can be useful if your language of choice doesn't support parallelisation very well (e.g. Python). However, it is indeed most suited when you need to scale out to multiple machines.
Regarding MongoDB, I found it a pain to setup and to maintain. AWS DynamoDB has its own problems, but is a lot easier to setup and maintain and has better security by default. In-house I generally use PostgreSQL or Hadoop HDFS, depending on the problems I am trying to solve. However, more importantly for this IPO, the companies that I have worked for and are using MongoDB, are generally very happy to run the community edition without a support contract. That probably explains the large losses.
Based on their job ads Cambridge Analytica have an impressive technology stack, however, as a data scientist myself, it is almost never the technology stack that is the limiting factor, but mapping and data quality issues instead. For example, how can I map your username Flocke Kroes reliable to your other social media accounts and secondly how can I infer your political opinions from your posts, in particular if you only ever post videos of cats or dogs on your public profile. Based on my personal experience, I don't believe Cambridge Analytica can deliver what they are promising, they seems to have nothing more than a glorified spreadsheet to record voter information derived from door to door leafleting combined with a limited subset of voter information scraped from social media.
This is what is going to happen
The UK will copy and past the EASA regulations and do a find-replace of "EU" with "Great-Britain". A few junior lawyers will be tasked to correct the most obvious mistakes and then it will be proof-read by a few senior lawyers. This process will be repeated, but limited in scope, every time the EASA changes their regulations. At some point, 5 to 10 years from now, a lazy minister, or a minister pressurised by budget cuts, will find this all rather cumbersome and decides that re-joining the EASA is much easier. By then the voters will have moved on from their Brexs*it concerns and this news will be buried on page 10.
I expect this process to be repeated for other useful EU organisations. Of course this won't happen under emperor May, but it will almost certainly be done under her successor, whoever he/she maybe.
I do have a internet filter at home from Virgin Media and have configured Google so it does SafeSearch only, however, both can be bypassed in seconds. You can simply start an incognito window, go to Google Image Search and type in sex. The returned results are nothing spectacular, but enough to keep a teenager busy for hours. With a bit more effort the filter can be completely bypassed by simply using a Google DNS server. On the laptop I can lock this all down by revoking admin rights, however, on Android phones this can be simply achieved by installing an app. Also do not forget public WIFI, some of them are horrendously bad at filtering anything at all.
A failure to backup and to regularly test you can restore that backup, is simply a failure of taking your clients seriously. Such failures make it far harder for an software architect to recommend spending the cash on an enterprise edition.
Unfortunately Big Sister Theresa May and her MP colleagues seem to be clueless regarding the internet. How long will it take for one of the kids to figure out you can bypass most of these filters using Google DNS or a VPN server. If all else fails, you could also of course use your dad's computer to watch that stuff.
I have used MongoDB in production and I am considering to become a certified developer. Not because I love MongoDB, but because I good make a good living as a consultant by redesigning badly thought out schemas or migrating MongoDB back to a SQL based environment. Personally I only use MongoDB for storing JSON retrieved from external APIs. You only need a few lines of Python for this and can be very useful if you want to scrape additional fields at a later stage. However, it is less useful for storing big data, especially as I found the integration with Apache Spark (beginning of 2016) not very good.
I think my company is using one of those AI cyber security tools. IT asked me if I had logged into a desktop machine, modified and executed a Python script several times. Very suspicious indeed that I was actually doing some work rather than checking my Facebook:-). In this case the AI security system overlooked the fact that it is a real pain to get an application server in my company, so when they finally allocate a new desktop machine or server, you try to hold on to it as long as you can. Ironically I was using the machine for training an AI system, maybe a case of AI envy:-).
In the current climate I can see a UK-->Rest of world brain drain happening. I am actually one of those EU citizens that arrived here without a job to join my Spanish girlfriend (now wife). I found a PhD shortly afterwards and have been a high rate tax payer for over a decade now. However, after the Brexit vote I am considering whether I want to raise my family in a country that dislikes immigrants so much they are happy to forfeit a large percentage of economic growth for it. After my children have finished primary school, we may return back to Europe and never come back.
You can't run a business by sticking your head in the sand and hoping your problem will go away. The EU will undoubtedly look different in 10 years, however, the reports on the death of the EU are great exaggerated. The single market and its associated custom union are highly beneficial for its members. Just wait until British exporters find out the overhead of rules of origin documentation, the EU red tape is a minor inconvenience compared to that.
WTO rules explicitly ban subsidies that counteract import or export tariffs. Please note that a 10% rate also applies to vehicle parts, so exporting incomplete vehicles to another EU plant is not a realistic option. Any exports will also be hindered by the admin overhead introduced by WTO rule of origin regulations.
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