When Google does something, we just have to pay attention these days. These folks brought us so many innovations and now this project, dubbed as automating the data scientists. Is this now another one of those moon-shots? Why pay those data science folks such high salaries..? let’s automate them..!
But let’s face it… much of what data scientists do, can be very tedious and boring at times… (HBR did this profession no good service when they touted it as the sexiest profession of the 21st century – it left many data scientists with a big “duh” on their face). Just the data preparation part on its own is tough work. Every case seems slightly different…
Therefore, of course, we shall applaud every effort to remove some of the tedious manual labor!!
And there are many such approaches, for example: KXEN – now with SAP – started this with ridge regression, and then vendors came along with automatic feature generation & selection, and model factories… and this will surely go on and on. Like in this project: Identifying the periodicity in time-series data, or figuring out the optimal “k” in k-means.
All good stuff.
But we must also realize that much of data science is about business problem solving – a complicated process with lots of back and forth – analysis followed by synthesis followed by … Certain elements can be and should be automated.
BTW, there is an analogy in the car industry: Already the “auto” in automotive was a huge “marketing lie” – then came those “automatic” cars with automatic transmissions 🙂 …now those “self-driving” cars that still cannot drive through heavy rain or snow and have to signal to the car driver if there is a plastic bag on the street, or a police officer at the side waving… It seems there are so many levels of “automation” – it sure leaves me wondering if we can get truly automatic cars by 2050…
As for data science, we shall be happy about all productivity gains that we can get…
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