I’m a Bot Developer

because an ‘automation developer’ doesn’t sound as cool. It sounds like someone writing test scripts.

So, I’m currently running on 55 minutes of sleep since my post hit #1 on Hacker News early in the AM and I had to manually scale up my AWS instances. Of course I didn’t know that this would happen so there was no elastic load balancing or autoscaling or anything like that. But it is good to know that AWS now lets you change your instance size without having to launch a new one. What if my Blade Runner replica (millennials should read this as ‘bot’) did that for me?


There’s a bot for that

Anyway, there’s brewing interest around chatbots and bots in general. Like a digital personal assistant, I think it’s great to see the productisation and humanisation of code. It’s easy for anyone to relate to and it doesn’t feel as rigid as ‘scraper’ or ‘data miner’ – maybe that’s a different matter, but I’m still stuck on my last post.

I’ve had a few interesting discussions around the act of collecting data via code.  The word ‘scraping’ – is still what gets attention and sparks debates on Hacker News it seems. I actually had posted my article as something like ‘Advanced Selenium Techniques for Web Crawling’ – that just got buried. So I deleted it, renamed the title and reposted it. It stayed at #1 for like 10 hours!

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.46.09 AM

Automation? Bot? Scraper?

Given the context of where my head is at right now, the following words and phrases essentially mean the same thing to me, but I’ll rank them worst to least-worst in terms of how a human portrays it:

I could be terribly wrong.

So to put this into context, let’s use GIFLY.co as an example. Someone might ask me “How do you populate this site? Is it manual?” I could answer:

Word ‘scrape’ needs a renewal

The word scrape should be either banned or have renewed meaning in 2017. I believe it comes with a whole lot of negative connotations due to what the spammers have been doing. It was for nobody’s good, it wasn’t adding any value.

But we should remember scrapers did not start out as bad things either. Like in the late 90s, I’m imagining a ‘how to program a scraper’ class would have been just like the fondest memories of Primary School but oh how the meaning has deteriorated. Such is the nature of us humans.

We’re not scraping like it’s 2005 anymore. that read “we scrape x leads for y dollars” or “scrape a dating site”. I thought that bandwagon was abandoned a long time ago but it seems that the critics are still stuck in the past. We are done with that!

Bot Developer

What should be a trending term and a job though, I believe is a ‘bot developer’. How cool is that? I make bots for a living. I develop chatbots, I code personal assistant bots, I program data collection bots. YO, IT’S GOT AI. (Optional: Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning)

I still don’t see the difference whether you call it a bot or a scraper

A bot does more than scrape

Well, it’s a much nicer package, it’s a cleaner product and it’s less toxic. A bot as I imagine, as I would design, it would do a few specific, human-replacing tasks. A bot does more than just scrape. It makes takes data, makes it pretty so that it can use it elsewhere. It’s like a humanised API. It replaces you. But a scraper is nothing without you.

We are moving towards an automation slash bot-driven society where we will have more free time to go to the gym, have time to spend with the family or to get away to an exotic destination for months at a time, with your AI driven Facebook/Slack chatbot answering 95% of your customer enquiries, your assistant bot keeping your Salesforce leads updated, your accountant bot populating data into your Xero for you and of course your HR bot has already hired right freelancer that can continue the groundwork while you enjoy your time!

Rich people buy time, poor people sell it. I sell it for now.

Next up I might post about this little Selenium script (short of a bot) that I wrote to allow me to play a ‘stock market game’ on the phone while commuting on the train to see if I can guess the next move. It’s based on TradingView and it’s certainly an awesome mental training game for any trader out there that wants to boost pattern recognition skills.


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