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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Three Big Technical Ideas That Would Impact Business Significantly In The Near Future

We recently covered From The Information Age To Conceptual Age Courtesy - Asia, Automation & Abundance published in Wired magazine originally. Naomi Moneypenny writes about ManyWorldsCEO Steve Flinn's assessment based on discussions with Michael Schrage on the topic of what could be the technical areas that will have the most impact on businesses over the next few years, and yet are currently very under-recognized. Excerpts with edits and comments added:

Three ideas stood out:
1. Massive parallelism in information acquisition: The reduction of scarcity in the computing world has already transformed myriad processes - we no longer worry about conserving scarce memory, storage, bandwidth, etc. Just a decade or two ago those were big bottlenecks - Cycle times are dramatically reduced when the marginal cost of formerly scarce resources plummet.In other words, waste makes haste! Now this same philosophy is being applied to experimentation. Massive parallelism of experiments, or more broadly,information gathering, has already had a profound impact on the biosciences, and now is poised to revolutionize materials science in general. While nano-tech gets all the buzz, 'waste makes haste' is the revolution that will hit first.

2. Inferencing from massive information:The amount of information that is being generated from commercial transactions, market data, etc. is growing exponentially. Making inferences from this data remains a challenge. New inferencing techniques, most notably statistical learning models, that have just been mathematically established in the past five years or so would become important in solving this issue. Some of these models are based on the biggest advance in the predictive modelling arena in 500 years! The Greeks gave us deduction, the Renaissance brought us induction, and now statistical learning theory brings us transduction. These new techniques promise insights from data that were previously inaccessible.

3. Adaptive systems and processes: By tracking our system and process usage behaviors, along with those of others to whom we have an affinity, systems can learn to become more and more effective. This approach was tried a number of years ago under the umbrella of 'intelligent agents', but the data gathered was too sparse, and the means of behavioral information capture too obtrusive to be effective.Now those barriers are rapidly falling, and application of statistical learning approaches will ensure adaptive systems and processes will become the norm.
Each of these areas is significant in its own right, but they will tend to reinforce one another - amplifying their impact.Transformational,yet non-obvious, technologies such as these three big ideas are the ones that end up driving the transformation of industries,and making or breaking businesses.We are actually seeing these making an impact in the sense of hightened sense of importance in creating Real Time Enterprises,focus on newer areas like Master Data Management.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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