I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine the other day, who is a programmer at an O&G ERP software company. We were kinda riffing on the topic of how long it would take until A.I. could perform many of the routine tasks we have accountants for. After all, with DocVue, Enverus, and Quorum’s Dynamic Docs, it seems like the machines are slowly chipping away at the drudgery of menial accounting work. But it’s the oil and gas industry, so… you know, we’re about 20 years behind the kitchen appliance sector.
Remember in the ‘90’s when Deep Blue finally beat Garry Kasparov in chess? I remember chess geeks and computer nerds were amped up about it. Kasparov himself had a full (and untelegenic) meltdown. Kasparov boldly predicted a machine would never be smart enough to beat him, a grandmaster, at chess. But what did we really learn from that game?
Which I guess brings us to the title: is Garry Kasparov smarter than Mike Tyson? Most people would say so, but I’m not buying it.
Sure, there is the ear-biting incident, but in plain old common sense, the smart money is on Mike Tyson.
Let’s face it: Iron Mike hasn’t challenged General Motors to put together a machine specifically designed to chase him around the ring and hydraulically pummel him in the face until he falls down. You think Mr. Tyson is going to let the Colt people sponsor a contest where he jumps into the ring to box against a Colt Python .357 Magnum and its operator? He’s not stupid.
Kasparov, on the other hand, did exactly that with IBM.
Would a rocket win the 50-yard dash in the Olympics? How about a Harley-Davidson in the Boston Marathon? Or a cigarette boat in a 100m freestyle? We already know machines do things better than us— that’s why we build them. They run faster, think quicker, jump higher, and do math better. There’re not against us: they’re part of us. Chess is just a math problem and eventually computers would (and did) do it better.
Of course, there is more to chess than just math— the way humans play it. But there’s also more to boxing than just hitting the other guy in the face really hard (the way humans play it). But if you do math fast enough, and hit hard enough, you’re gonna win at chess and boxing, respectively.
So, will machines eventually displace accountants? Well, in rest of the world, maybe a lot of them in the next hundred years. For Oil & Gas? Nah, we will have used up the unproven reserves and transitioned to nuclear power before that tech makes its way into The Patch.
Now, that we have established accountants aren’t going anywhere— yet— and that Mike Tyson is smarter than Kasparov, lets pit Mr. Tyson against Deep Blue. Then we might learn something.
Jordan comes to PetroLedger having spent six years at WolfePak Software. As their former Director of Professional Services, he administered several teams and oversaw conversions, training, and implementation, as well as handling service sales, navigating mergers and acquisitions, and managed other operations-related responsibilities. Prior to that, he served as the Controller for Tigé Boats, worked in Legal for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and is a proud veteran of the United States Air Force.
I graduated from high school in 2002, a long time ago. During my MBA program, when one of my professors didn’t recognize a Groucho reference, (“Any program that will take me isn’t good enough”) I took that as the final smidgen of proof that the traditional education system had nothing more to teach me. When I was in high school, computers were only just becoming standard in certain classrooms. They were old Apple iMacs— you remember the brightly colored, neon one-piece boxes Steve Jobs used to hawk back in the day— and some nameless PC that was probably handed down to the school from a city auction. Back in those days, I didn’t see the computer as a friend. I didn’t recognize these hunks of junk as the predecessor of the tools that would help me crush Jane Doe.
To: President@Whitehouse.gov From: We The People Re: Any d@mn thing that pops into my head about how this country should be run. People in power always care about letters, good or bad. Today, if PetroLedger received fewer than a dozen letters complaining about my use of ‘colorful metaphors,’ I’d get the call, “Driskell, you gotta clean it up! Give me your badge and gun. You’re on the bench.”
I know what you’re thinking: “Jordan, you’re a lovable, swashbuckling, sort of scamp; why aren’t you a pirate?” And that’s a good question. The answer is simple: I have a healthy respect for the law, and piracy is illegal— has been for some time. Barring a mild dalliance with Napster in my youth, and maybe one or two other, very nominal movie and music transgressions, I don’t engage in that sort of tosh. Besides, piracy was a lot more interesting back in the day: sailing the high seas, roaming about, and looking for a hapless ship to plunder.
Remember over a year ago, when we had so much oil that you couldn’t pay people to take it? Or when global storage was maxed out and previously successful E&P Operators were draining their swimming pools and filling them with crude because they refused to shut in a well and no amount of money or TSA coercion could convince a First Purchaser to bring the truck around?
Long before I won the lottery and landed a job in Sales & Marketing, I worked for an insurance company (I won’t give the name, for obvious reasons). It’s a big company; our humble Abilene, TX office employed 1,300 souls, tidily arranged in two huge cubical farms reminiscent of the movie Office Space on PED’s. Younger me, even fresh out of the Air Force, was unprepared for the frighteningly Byzantine bureaucracy. But most notable was the Klingon-style system of promotion.