Response to Lau’s Kitchen and Social History of Database Populism

The Lau’s piece mention about technologies that has been successfully developed , if not much better, by many electronics companies nowadays. However, again, like Bush’s, if we consider about the time this article was written,1975, it is amazing how the author foreseen on some innovative ways of utilizing the technology at that time. However, the fact that we only have recently achieved such success, after almost 30 years since the distribution of the idea, shows how hard it is to turn even a well-planned invention into reality.

About the social history piece, I think it is a bit exaggerated when talking about the importance of “data literate… or their lives will be destroyed by those who are”. However, I don’t deny that with this rate, data literate and algorithm will become more and more crucial in our lives. Since the start of the computer age, when the first computer was invented, they said there will only about 3 computers needed in each country. Yet less than a century later, everything turns out to be nothing like what have been predicted. People learn how to work with computer,its software;and more and more people now how to code, assemble and design their own computer with separate . Computer skills like knowing how to use Excel or PowerPoint become a must for most of the jobs’ requirement. Therefore, it just a matter of time when people become familiar with the data literate and its algorithm and that time will not be too long.  Just like the article mentions about the similarity between computer and car, I am sure not knowing how to fix your car won’t get your life screwed up by the car engineer; and really, we don’t need to or partially need to know how the car engine works in order to drive a car or even, become a racer.

One more example is, because the technologies keep changing, it is not feasible in timely manner to let people get to learn about the data literate and algorithm. In the last century, it has been a back and forth fight between (SQL and the relational model) vs. (mass-scale information processing/NoSQL), just like the fight between a electric car vs. gas-engine car, which will confuse even the professionals and thus lead to a mass chaos in the computer using community. In order to get the data literate as the author wanted, I think firstly what we have to do is to reach the stable phase where we can be sure that our knowledge has reach its maximum potential, or at least will stay that way in a sufficient time, enough for the society to catch up and be familiar with the literate and algorithm itself.


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