Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Where does all the computer power go?

An article on Social Network analysis in The Economist states:
By one estimate there are more than 100 programs for network analysis, also known as link analysis or predictive analysis. The raw data used may extend far beyond phone records to encompass information available from private and governmental entities, and internet sources such as Facebook. IBM, the supplier of the system used by Bharti Airtel, says its annual sales of such software, now growing at double-digit rates, will exceed $15 billion by 2015. In the past five years IBM has spent more than $11 billion buying makers of network-analysis software. Gartner, a market-research firm, ranks the technology at number two in its list of strategic business operations meriting significant investment this year.
I suspect that this might be an example of the Digital Divide. The approach is being used by local governments in the United States to improve police efficiency, by corporations to improve marketing, by the federal government to fight fraud, and by the military to plan counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency programs.

Is it being used by the World Bank or other international financial institutions or by USAID and other bilateral donors to improve the planning and implementation of donor assistance programs? Is it being used by poor countries to improve the targeting of their own social and economic development efforts? I doubt it!

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