Thursday, November 8, 2007

MESDA's 15th Annual Conference

MESDA’s 15th annual conference began with an announcement that MESDA is being renamed techMaine as it now encompasses more than just software development. Another interesting note from the opening remarks was MESDA’s placement in Google searches, such as being the second result when searching “technology events” (in actuality it is the first result as the one before is a sponsored link).

The Keynote speech was given by Frederick Hayes-Roth, former Chief Technology Officer of Hewlett-Packard. The Keynote was entitled: “Getting Ahead of the Avalanche.” It discussed the rapid growth of information technology and how more intelligent techniques of filtering will be needed to parse relevant and material information out of the avalanche of incoming data. Some relevant and material information from the Keynote was:

  • Due to Moore’s Law, by 2040 a person will be able to purchase a computer with the processing power that exceeds the combined processing power of all human brains for a cost of $1000. But, how will that be useful to an individual?

  • The cost of putting information on the Web per bit is approaching $0.00; communication is becoming free despite service provider’s resistance.

  • It is impossible for an individual to absorb all relevant and material information.

  • Bits only have value when they meet the user’s needs and expectations. A user-centric, value delivery system is needed; which was dubbed “Me-centric.” Some current examples are iTunes, TiVO, Yahoo! Alerts, RSS feeds, GPS, ONGMAP.

  • The difference between Pull and Push methods of accessing information. Pull is actively searching for information, such as using a search engine. Push is when you set your preferences and relevant information is delivered to you. Push is more effective by a factor of 5.

  • In Q&A, one issue that came up with the concept of an intelligent system for filtering incoming data is the potential for privacy issues. If content providers are aware of how people are filtering their incoming data, what is preventing them from taking advantage of that information?

Rick Hayes-Roth was an excellent speaker and a seemingly brilliant man. His presentation was clear, relevant, and sprinkled with humor and personal stories. It was worth attending the conference for the Keynote alone, not to mention the opportunity to network with some of top IT professionals in Maine and the other excellent presentations given throughout the day.

No comments: