Tech in Silicon Valley

In a special report on LA Times has a special report discussing the present and future of Silicon Valley.

I spent about 6 months in the Valley from Dec 1992 to May 1993 working at a firm prior to my return to India and then another 2 months in late 1994 at a friend’s place thinking up the business that later became IndiaWorld. What I liked most was the diverse flow of ideas in meetings with people. It is what I now feel through weblogs – even though one cannot meet the people, reading their blogs almost make you get to know them and their thinking well.

One of the articles discusses five emerging technologies which offer hope for Silicon Valley: Electro-bio Convergence, Micro-sensors, Nanotechnology Processors, Flexible Electronics and Mining Unstructured Data. Here is what it says on data mining:

In the next three years humankind will generate more data”video footage, Internet traffic, corporate records and even newspapers”than it has generated in all of human history,” says Nelson Mattos, a software expert at IBM’s Santa Teresa Laboratory in San Jose. That’s hardly reassuring for those of us already drowning in data. So the quest continues for effective ways to tackle information overload.

The goal, Mattos says, is to “organize, index and mine [diverse data types] so that you can discover the trends and patterns.” Then exploit that knowledge for everything from corporate marketing to research surveys of thousands of medical papers in multiple languages to detecting potential terrorist plots amid billions of innocuous activities by billions of law-abiding citizens.

IBM and other companies are developing methods to organize everything from millions of hours of commercial television archives to medical X-rays to satellite images scattered across thousands of locations across the Internet. Commercial products are starting to apply similar search techniques by labeling video streamsto recognize scene changes, individuals, locations and voices. Before long a news network will be able to identify every video clip of John Lennon singing “Imagine,” in archives dating back decades. Or a company wondering how it is perceived by the public might conduct a “sentiment analysis” that distills millions of media references, images and opinions that would be sifted and measured with artificial intelligence software.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.