For decades now, the human mind has adjusted itself to computers by providing and retrieving structured data in two-dimensional worksheets with constraints on format, data types, list of values, etc. But, this is not the way the human mind has been architected to work. Our minds have the uncanny ability to capture the essence of what is being conveyed in a facial expression in a photograph, the tone of voice or inflection in an audio and the body language in a video. At the HP Discover conference, Autonomy VP for United States, Stouffer Egan showed the audience how software can begin to do what the human mind has being doing since the dawn of time. In a demonstration where Iron Man came live out of a two-dimensional photograph, Egan turned the tables on computers. It is about time computers started thinking like us rather than us forcing us to think like them.
Egan states that the "I" in IT is where the change is happening. We have a newfound wealth of data through various channels including video, social, click stream, audio, etc. However, data unprocessed without any analysis is just that -- raw data. For enterprises to realize business value from this unstructured data, we need tools that can process it across multiple media. Imagine software that recognizes the picture in a photograph and searches for a video matching the person in the picture. The cover page of a newspaper showing a basketball star doing a slam dunk suddenly turns live pulling up the video of this superstar's winning shot in last night's game.
However, when software does this, such tools need to respect context. When I titled my second post at the HP Discover conference "Find your best bet for Cloud Computing," the human mind would have interpreted that as picking the best option among multiple architectural options for deploying solutions in the cloud. Interestingly enough, a Twitter account that is apparently all about gambling started following me just because I tweeted this post with the word "bet" in it. Context. Tools of today need to have the ability to establish context and understand the meaning of a word as well as the meaning of this meaning with proper context. Such a feature is absolutely vital to having software glean the right information from the raw data. Change the photograph to a pre-schooler playing with a toy basketball that has the globe imprinted on it and you may get the video of the solar system instead! Context is vital. Tools that can process data with context will enable enterprises to realize tangible business value from the data waiting to be processed.
How is your enterprise processing the unstructured data to glean value-added information? Or, do you believe that you have all the information you need just processing data in its traditional, structured format?
Are you interested in turning the tables on computers like Egan did at HP Discover?