RAG(e) Against the Machine

Formulating the latest LLM leaps as foundation models has opened a box of infinite possibilities. If you were living on the Earth for the past 24-36 months, this is not news.

The RAG Pattern now made its way into very niche areas.

But first, a little (his)story

Remember the era of the chatbots? Then the era of “synthetic chatbots”. You know, the ones that answered the phone when you wanted to solve a problem with your (bank / xSP)? Those are (or maybe were) just clever expert systems, covered by capable voice synthesizers. Yes, an expert system is still AI, the voice synthesizers are nowadays also built with a sort of generative AI model.

You know why they are still around ?

Because they make a difference. Dollar-wise.


Foundational LLMs used with RAG quickly found their way into the mode technical aspects of human communications. Engineering that is. IT&C Engineering to be more precise.

For example, operation centers, including SOCs, very quickly adapted to this new reality and implemented RAG out of the box for second and third level support. Basically, what this means, in a nutshell, is that when you build a support team (second and third level) for a product, team members DO NOT have to spend time reading any type of written manuals. Zero.

Another really cool example is in cybersecurity. You can no have (and you do have) solutions in place that do “assume breach”-level monitoring, and you can query their status using natural language. This is achieved by indexing definitions of cybersecurity concepts together with the output of the smart monitoring tools. This is already pretty cool. But this is not the main subject of incursion.

The intrigue

I got into a discussion with one of my friends the other days. He is close to some content moderation ecosystems.

For a bit of a context, content moderation is a business where workers are subject to an EXTREME cern-rate. Look it up for yourself. The average will blow your mind.

Training employees (to use the tools), offering first level support for the software ecosystem serving the content moderators is an operation that has the second impact in cost for this business.

Well, they have eliminated the need to:

  • do technical training for any employee (new, old, whatever)
  • there is no first level support anymore

Why, because RAG can.

I’ve got some neat insights on how they’ve done it, but this is another subject.

This is big. This is crossing barrier. Completely eliminating first level support for an operation where this accounts for a lot of cost is big. Even if their audience is fairly technical, it is still a big achievement.

I can see a future where…

There will be an acceptance criteria for various vendors inside an enterprise ecosystem that your documentation must be capable of integration with their RAG solution because if not, the operational cost is 50% higher.

Hey, I’ve seen mission-critical workloads that have shit (the stinky kind) documentation.
Not once.

It’s not that this happens that intrigues me, but the speed at which this is happening. Or maybe I am too old already. It may have something to do with the fact that cloud providers already have the “RAG SDK” out and ready. Well, this is good news after all.


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