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Thoughts from JUXT's XT24 Conference

I was fortunate enough to attend and speak at XT24 .  Here are my notes and thoughts from the event. Fran Bennett - Interim Director & Board Member - AI: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES Fran made some great points regarding the risks of trusting AI too much.  While some people are worried about super intelligent robots, Fran points out a far more likely set of "unintended consequences" that have already started to materialise. How do you test a system is working?  You need an acceptance criteria.  Developing a set of requirements is a hard to thing to do and it's easier to just... not specify them.  If that's the case, how can you test your system is working? Fran made the comparison of AI products with the recent British Post Office scandal  where people blindly assume "The system is infallible".  Clearly IT systems are not, real life is messy!  We must always keep in mind that the system could fail in weird ways. Human testing AI output also has issues.  It ma

Workflows can encourage bad system design

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In this article I'll discuss my thoughts on a potential design flaw relating to systems (primarily microservices) which use a workflow engine.  This issue was discussed in Sam Newman's excellent "Building Microservices" book.  I've lived through this and felt compelled to explain my take on it! TLDR: Using a workflow engine runs the risk that other services called by the workflow are pushed to be data only with CRUD APIs and no behaviour.  Centralised workflow engines that perform all behaviour should be avoided.  Domain driven design should be considered first for your services.  Only then consider small embedded workflow engines as a way of writing the internal code. Why Use a Workflow engine? Workflow engines are a fantastic design choice when the process you are modelling is complex and involves many sequential or parallel tasks.  They can show: non technical users the actual workflow representing the process that can be easy to follow and never drifts from r