Technology Game Changers for Libraries

A recent article by Technology writer Christina Farr for GOOD Technology titled The Top 10 Technology Game Changers for the Next Decade sparked my interest, since technology is changing the game in libraries.
There were at least three of her 10 that I felt directly impacted libraries and the way we will have to do business. They are……….

Visual Learning Robotics
Imagine an Internet that thinks and sees like humans. Diffbot, which recently raised $2 million in seed funding, uses visual learning robots to extract and analyze content on the web the same way that people do. “Diffibot’s mission is to teach software robots to understand webpages, so that we can extract meaningful information and build a database of freely accessible human knowledge,” says founder Mike Tung. Diffbot is already being used by AOL to pull relevant content from the web and organize stories for its iPad magazine.

“… an Internet that thinks and sees like humans.” OK. This is scant information, but going to their website left me unimpressed – today. In a few more years it is entirely possible that this could turn into something – something that again challenges the way librarians do business.

Internet Data Expansion
Forget megabytes and gigabytes. Bandwidth will multiply three million times through the next ten years, surpassing terabytes, petabytes and exabytes to reach zettabytes. Internet data will be high definition video living in a real-time cloud. Always-on connectivity will be standard across 15 billion devices worldwide. “We’re trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves,” said Intel researcher Dean Pomerleau in an interview with CNET. “Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

“Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.” OK, this is even more fantastical than the visual learning robotics – BUT, don’t forget what Jules Verne wrote, “Anything one man can imagine other men can make real.” It’s only a matter of time.

Voice Recognition
According to David Jacobs of TechKnowledge Consulting Corporation, voice recognition will take over keypads in the next decade. Your Caller ID will be pulled, greet you by name, access your records, book your flights or deliver your dinner. Siri is merely a stop on the road to voice recognition capabilities that can create even higher degrees of efficiency, with application in hospital emergency rooms at the top of the list.

Just like Star Trek’s captain being able to speak to the computer. This one I think is highly feasible because people have wanted this for a long time. If there’s money to be made in it, someone will invent and market it.

As I’ve written numerous times, technology is advancing at an exponential rate, and who knows where it will emerge next. My bet is that it will emerge in the “information” arena, as well as many other arenas that used to be the domain of the librarian. Not any more!

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