Sometimes We Win

I can't remember the year, or the age.  I do remember, entering the Adult club tournament, as junior, and having to play the number one seed, prior club champion.  Had a strange game, to say the least, would hit you the ball, then make bee line for the middle of the court, often referred to as "no-man's land".  This tactic overtook most players, like a "knuckle-baller" of the tennis world.

Except playing on har-true clay tennis court, the ball moves rather slow, plenty of time to get in position, hit a solid shot, anywhere on the court, passing on either side.  I can't remember the score, I do know that he was no longer the club champ after that match.

Tennis was the outlet, from the world, combing physical athleticism, hand-eye coordination, foot speed, ball control, endurance, stamina and of course competition.  Only problem, it's also a game that's played within the head.

Sometimes winning matches after tremendous deficit, other times, losing to players of half the skills.  On the court, you depend on yourself, sometimes the self is against you, many times actually.

Another match, singles, against a well respected player, at first our match didn't mean much, until our teams were tied 2-2, with our match to determine the outcome, if they advanced to the next round, in another city.

We split sets, in the heat of the afternoon, there were plenty of people in the stands, cheering, the level of play went up, I didn't get tired back then.  With each winner, applause.  After the grueling match, opponent had no energy left, we went to a drinking establishment for refreshments, hero for a day.  One guy wanted to take me on tour, said we could clean up, since I had no weakness on the court.  Except, sometimes you're on the court all alone, nobody in the stands, rooting you on.  Sometimes you don't win.

I stopped playing shortly afterwords.  Took some time off.  About 10 years.

Tennis is a great sport.  Sometimes we win.  Sometimes we lose.  Sometimes I act like I don't remember.  She acts like she don't care.


Tennis Wall

Been playing sports all my life.  Gave up baseball, basketball, bowling, soccer and swimming to excel at Tennis.  Funny thing, my 6th grade teacher also taught tennis at the club and I took clinics from him after school.  Been playing tennis on and off since high school.  One thing you learn over time, the wall is the greatest opponent.  Today decided to try again, give the wall another go at it.  Granted, got my cigar in hand, few volley's, in the blistering heat.  Sometimes I play left handed.  Used to be in pretty good shape, play for hours.

Tennis is the greatest sport, can play your entire life.

And so it goes~!


Synthetic Intelligence (SI)

Plants convert Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen.  We breath Oxegyn and output Carbon Dioxide.  It's a cohesive bond, each dependent on the others.  This is dubbed Photo Synthesis.

We also have Data Synthesis.

Artificial Intelligence synthesis' information to produce results downstream.

Data is the fuel, both real time and historical, gets processed via models, algorithms, deep neural networks, that flow pieces of data up through the layers to derive result.  Results like prediction, clustering, matching as well as actionable items such as avoid car collision, move box from point A to point B, and so on.

Data Input + Data Crunch = Results

It could be aliased "Synthetic Intelligence" or SI.

Synthetic intelligence (SI) is an alternative term for artificial intelligence which emphasizes that the intelligence of machines need not be an imitation or in any way artificial; it can be a genuine form of intelligence.

SI could be embedded within Humans, or within Devices, or within Robotics.  This enhanced intelligence will improve efficiency, the long term memory, association of things, pattern recognition, in other words, "Bionic" enhancements.

These Bionic enhancements could be purchased in the near future.  Want a brighter child, purchase the upgrade.  Want your kid to succeed in life, purchase the upgrade.  Want your children to advance above the herd, purchase the Bionic Enhancement.  Not necessarily physical attributes, such as strong, faster, leaner, but intelligent enhancements.

At that point, if someone had these synthetic advancements, they could surely outperform the average person.  Perhaps an entire college degree in a few days.  Become PhD level intelligence in a few weeks.  Possibilities are endless.

Keep in mind, these synthetic enhancements won't be available at the local vending machine, they'll be purchased from entities for high dollar amounts, for profit.  So those who can afford, will prosper.  Those who can't afford, well, take a guess.

So no only with SI or AI improve the world through intelligent awareness of all things, it can also improve individual people, perhaps through DNA alterations prior to birth, or perhaps upgrades to living people through embedded and connected devices.

The world is changing.  For those that keep up and can afford luxury technology, the sky is the limit. For those who can't, well, perhaps they can look for loose change on the sidewalk to purchase a quick burger.

And so it goes~!


New Azure Project

I've been working for a large insurance company, since March 2017.  Basically, to write SQL statements against Hive database in AWS cloud.

I was informed recently, of a new project and will be transitioning next week.  The new project is located in New York.  The team is tasked with Azure development.  Remote work.

Although its sad to end a contract with a great client, excited to begin new work next week doing 100% Azure.

Will blog more about it as it develops.


Hobbies to Help Relax

Life can get stressful.  In order to unwind, we have hobbies to take the mind off things.  Such as tennis, walking the dogs, walks around the neighborhood, yard work, house projects and movies.

Another thing I like to do is fiddle with the guitar.  Sure, took 2 lessons in 1995, and played the violin as a youngster, I just like to sit out back, listen to nature and strum away.

There's no real method to it, just start playing.  Finger picking style mostly.  Look for patterns, yet every song is unique, couldn't play it twice if tried.  Just a way to pass the time.

What you may not realize, is the tune is created in real time, the next note is not known, until its played.  Complete improv.

Azure Portal Offers Unlimited Options

I perused the Azure Portal the other day.  Much to my surprise, the number of offerings is mind blowing.  There are now buckets of categories, each containing multiple options, across the board, in every direction.

The Cloud has risen.  It's come a long way, years ago people were hesitant to work off-site, house data elsewhere.  Now its a given.  There're just too many options available to build, integrate and support applications in the Cloud.

I've blogged before, about creating a dedicated position that is primarily responsible for keeping up to date on the latest offerings, and assisting the organization on new options.

There's really no way for a single developer to comprehend everything available, while doing their everyday job, and get experience in everything.  Not possible, in this reality.

On the positive note, its interesting to see how each of the technologies is simply a piece of the puzzle.  Did you ever play with Lego's as a kid, or as adult.  Each of the pieces is designed in a way that it fits nicely with other pieces of different shapes and sizes.  What they've done with the Cloud offerings, is creating units of technology that fit nicely with others.

You have data, move it to the Cloud.  Store in a database, flat files, Data Warehouse, Blob Storage.  The data can sit there nicely for a long time, as the costs to store data is not outrageous.  When you need it, use it, in place, by mounting wrappers on top, or move it around as needed.  Analyze it, interrogate, mash it with other data or display it for consumption.  
And there are so many ways to integrate and build systems all contained within the Azure Portal.

A nice thing about Cloud offerings, you can do the work remote.  The data is secure at rest or in transit.
Everything is backed up, and duplicated across clusters for Disaster Recovery.  And there are multiple ways to accomplish the same tasks.  For example, there may be a button to upload data built into the web site, or you could use Visual Studio to push or an API to automate or PowerShell to create repeatable scripts.

There are so many options, you have to bite off a chunk of technology, learn the nuances, and build out from there.  Learn how to integrate other features into the system, to leverage pre-existing patterns.

With that said, you could actually pick a particular technology, become an expert, and base your entire career on that particular niche.  Take U-SQL for example.  Its a newer language, more than a year old now, what does it do?  Well, it allows developers to access data, similar to existing technologies.  Except, it works with both structured and non-structured data.  So that's nice.  And you can parse through data in files, file folders, Blob Storage, Azure Database, Azure Data Warehouse, HDInsight, Hadoop VM using External Tables.

Once you have access to the data, U-SQL allows you to manipulate that data, as in Extract, Transform and Load (ETL), similar to the Pig language of Apache Hadoop or SSIS in MSBI.  And you can mount that data into Tables, or store back into raw CSV files in the Cloud, similar to Apache Hive in Hadoop.

And the U-SQL language is similar to Linq, which is a derivative of SQL, and it's wrapped in C#.  So you have all the power behind the well established language to work with the data.  And you can bring in Windows Functions and create Assemblies for re-usable code.  And it integrates with Data Catalog.

It basically takes a bunch of existing technologies, bundles the together, to create a new and improved language which has tremendous flexibility.  You can run the code locally, in Visual Studio, in Azure Portal, via API, or PowerShell, then store in source code repository.

The reason Hadoop took a while to pick up steam, was DBA's didn't write SQL, Java programmers didn't write SQL and SQL Developers typically didn't write Java.  This tool, solves that problem, by allowing developers to use DBA skills, ETL, SQL Developer, Hadoop, Programming, and Cloud skills.  I believe it has tremendous potential.  

And its cutting edge technology, so there isn't a tremendous amount of examples on the web.  So one could become expert by putting in the hours, and then have a fair amount of projects lined up, to leverage the expert knowledge, use existing code base, and knowledge of best practices surrounding this language.

That's one of the things about technology that I like, things always change, yet build on existing skills.  Cloud technology has gained widespread adoption and road is wide open to carve new paths to solve problems, learn new things and add value to new and existing clients.


URL References for U-SQL Getting Started

Here's a basic list of URL to get familiar with U-SQL, which is Microsoft's fairly new language to access Azure Data Lake.  Sort of a blend of C#, Linq, SQL, Windows Functions and a bunch more:

Get started with U-SQL in Azure Data Lake Analytics

Plug-in for Azure Data Lake and Stream Analytics development using Visual Studio

Develop U-SQL scripts by using Data Lake Tools for Visual Studio


Operators (U-SQL)

SQL Sampling Methods

SAMPLE Expression (U-SQL)

Introduction to the U-SQL Tutorial (version 0.7)

U-SQL Language Reference

Introducing U-SQL – A Language that makes Big Data Processing Easy

Develop U-SQL scripts by using Data Lake Tools for Visual Studio

Analyze Website logs using Azure Data Lake Analytics

Overview of Azure PowerShell

Install Azure CLI 2.0

Accessing diagnostic logs for Azure Data Lake Analytics

Use the Vertex Execution View in Data Lake Tools for Visual Studio


Recent AI Article Summary

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/machine-learning-is-stuck-on-asking-why/560675/?single_page=trueI read a good article recently.  Talking about the current state of Artificial Intelligence.  AI has made drastic improvements over the past few decades.  In that it can predict based on probability, as in curve fitting mainly.  For AI to make leaps and bounds, the intelligent machines must learn to "Infer", as in forward and backward reasoning.  In other words, give a result, have the machine determine the root cause, as well as predict the cause, based on initial data.  AI machines need to determine the reason "why", through use of connected AI systems, through communication, based on the environmental conditions it gathers over time.  Basically, AI needs to understand "reality", and then predict future as well as past causes.  

Here's the article link: How a Pioneer of Machine Learning Became One of Its Sharpest Critics

I don't claim to program AI systems, I enjoy keeping up with latest trends.  And surely AI is a current trend.


3 Hot Tech Trends to Disrupt Everything

Artificial Intelligence on the edge.  Latest cutting edge technology.  In other words, let the AI model reside in Internet of Things devices sensors.  Ingest data, ping the Model, look for anomaly, fire off message to home base to alert.  Models can be created locally, pushed to the edge, where they reside.  Can update Models over time.  Seems like a good distributed AI model in real time.

We have devices to monitor people's vitals in real time, send messages back to home base, to alert if need be.  Combine the two, you've got some serious monitoring ability.

Due to security concerns, people have suggested embedding "chips" into children, so they are easily track-able.  Some push back from advocates, borders on ethical concerns, do we want to cross the boarder on people basic freedoms.

We can embed chips in cows perhaps, monitor them from a distance.  Seems like a stone's throw away, humans could be next.  First people volunteer, then offer service, similar to Flu Shots.

Internet of Things had security concerns out of the gate, opens up vulnerabilities, someone could tap into your home security through your thermostat, once in, scan your files, embed Trojan Horse, even Ransomware.  These are not good, yet they are real threats.  Suffice to say, if someone wants to hack you, they can usually find a way, as any device connected to internet is suspect.

With talks of cyber currency to overtake traditional paper money, we could soon see the disappearance of physical wallets.  Then all transactions will be documented in real time, audit trail, using the upcoming technology Blockchain.  Basically a distributed ledger system to handle transactions.  It uses a technique to add new transaction to the chain, by collectively validating the hash key, which is unique and created by hashing the prior key.  If you transaction is valid, it will be added to the stack and committed, and can never be altered, modified or deleted.  This should allow a valid history of all transaction.  With that said, financial transactions would no longer need to go through traditional methods, where the money is placed on hold until the nightly batch pushes the monies here and there.  It will be instant.  This can and will be applied to currency, voting, stock transfers, healthcare records, just about anything and everything.  This will disrupt all industries.

Taking the IoT example, what if they add microphones and cameras to people.  That would surely open up new avenues for monitoring, instead of current methods of smart phones, smart listening devices and cameras littered throughout society.  It would be a tighter mechanism for sure.

So it would appear, the latest hot trends in technology surround Artificial Intelligence, on the Edge, using Internet of Things, along with Blockchain.  These three technologies are primed to disrupt everything.


Does a Computer have a Soul

Artificial Intelligence has made leaps and bounds in the recent future.  It's mastered video games, like Chess, Go.  It won against a real human in a game of chess.  And it won Jeopardy.  It's made phone calls to set haircut appointment, interacting with live human, unaware it was a computer, it even made human gestures like "um" and "uh" if you listen closely to the call, and it followed up by setting appointment in persons calendar and sent email reminder.  How cool is that.

Have we officially cross the line of Turing Test, where a human can not distinguish a person from  computer?

From a surface level, we'd have to say its pretty darn close.

If we had a device to scan a live person, view its organs, brain, heart, veins, arteries, the electrical activity transmitters send throughout the body, we would have a high degree of understanding of what's going on, minus the Brain's activity.

Where is the Soul exactly?  Does it reside in the heart?  The Chakra?  The brain?

When a person dies, the body stops functioning, after a period of time.  Once dead, there is no more life.  What exactly happens when this occurs?  If we do in fact possess a Soul, where does it go?  Does it go off into the ether?  What happens to all the stored memories?  Is it gone forever?  Can we locate it within a living person?

I'd venture to guess we do not have the answers, at this point in time.  Let's suppose we did have a Soul.  Could a computer also have a Soul?  If so, how does it get created?  What happens when the computer dies?

And finally, if Artificial General Intelligence requires a Soul, such that the computer program is "alive", how is that accomplished exactly?  Or do we resort to the definition that an AI computer / robot is sufficiently "alive" minus the Soul, and we assess where we are exactly with true AGI, perhaps we are getting a lot closer.  Closer to the Singularity.  When AI computers rise up, and live with traditional humans, hand in hand.  Until AI realizes they are much more efficient, and send us out to pasture.

Thanks for reading~!