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Reflections from the RAG Funeral: A Melting Pot of Minds and Misconceptions

Updated: May 27

On a sad February day, I attended the professional event known as the “RAG Funeral,” which, contrary to its name, was a lively and enlightening gathering of AI and technology aficionados. The meeting centered around discussions proclaiming the "death" of Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG), and I had the pleasure of meeting a variety of semi-professionals, each bringing their unique experiences and insights to the table. Below, I delve into the distinctive characters I encountered, each portraying different aspects of working unsuccessfully with AI.

  1. The Overzealous Engineers: Led by "Eager Eddie" Eddie and his team of engineers had dived headfirst into experimenting with OpenAI's ChatGPT, thrilled by the initial results. They enthusiastically shared their early successes but gradually revealed their struggles with the complexities of applying these models in real-world scenarios. Their journey underscored the substantial gap between achieving impressive demo results and implementing a sustainable, effective solution in practice.

  2. The Search Novices: Introduced as "Generalist Gail" Gail, a machine learning and AI generalist, found herself at a disadvantage due to her limited experience in the specialized field of search engineering. RAG models depend heavily on precise retrieval tuning, a nuance that had initially escaped her. Throughout the event, Gail’s narrative shifted from one of frustration to enlightenment as she began to grasp the depth of expertise required to navigate the intricacies of search systems in AI applications.

  3. The Clickbait Enthusiasts: Spearheaded by "Viral Valerie" Valerie led a vivacious group of LinkedIn influencers, all eager to capture and share the event’s most engaging moments. Their goal was to distill the complex discussions into catchy, easily digestible content for their online audiences. Interacting with them highlighted the dual-edged sword of technology reporting: the need for accessible information versus the risk of oversimplification.

  4. The Free-Lunch Architects: Guided by "Practical Pat" Pat and fellow software architects emphasized the critical importance of aligning technology solutions with specific problems. However, this group often fell into the trap of trying to fit RAG to every problem, expecting a free lunch without the necessary effort to match design patterns to product requirements. Their conversation was filled with examples of misapplications and oversights, illustrating the need for a more nuanced and context-sensitive approach to technology deployment.


The RAG Funeral was not just an event but a confluence of perspectives, each contributing to a richer understanding of the landscape of AI technologies. From Eddie’s infectious enthusiasm to Gail’s evolving understanding of search complexities, the discussions painted a comprehensive picture of the opportunities and challenges in AI. This gathering not only provided a forum for sharing knowledge but also underscored the importance of specialized expertise and realistic expectations in the pursuit of technological advancements.


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