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Oracle’s New Database Uses AI to Patch Itself

October 2, 2017

If you can’t trust humans to update your software, teach it to do the job for itself. That’s the thinking at the enterprise software firm Oracle, anyway, which has just announced that its 18c database system now uses machine learning to “automatically upgrade, patch, and tune itself while running.”

VentureBeat reports that system administrators provide rules for the database, but then leave it to its own devices. The software learns what “normal” looks like, and then tries to stop anything that seems untoward, and does all that without the downtime that comes when humans peer under the hood. “If you eliminate all human labor, you eliminate human error,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, (pictured above) explained as he announced the new software yesterday.

That raises the specter of technological unemployment, of course. In Oracle's case, the theory appears to be that the AI will free up network administrators to help users, rather than having them spend their time patching software. But if, like at Equifax, they weren’t patching much software in the first place, there is always the chance that their presence is no longer required.

And Oracle isn’t alone in using AI to improve the security of software. Data science platform Kaggle is currently running a contest in which researchers build offensive and defensive AIs to improve software security. In other words: sysadmins of the world, look busy.

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