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Anaheim 99 Tuesday, 26 January, 1999, 04:22 GMT
Awesome power of IT
AAAS
AAAS Expo
Vice President Al Gore went to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual expo on Sunday to celebrate the revolution that has taken place in information technology.

And he used his speech in Anaheim, California, to announce a $366m boost to government IT spending. It would be spread among many agencies with the National Science Foundation getting the largest share with $146m.

He told the AAAS that the science that this research could make possible would be awesome:

"Computers that can speak and understand human language, intelligent agents that can search the Internet on our behalf, and high-speed wireless networks that bring telemedicine to our most remote communities."

Computer power

The Vice President said it was government-funded research that had helped to "split the atom, splice the gene and put people on the moon." Basic government-funded research, he said, can look at areas private industry cannot afford to explore, but give private companies a platform to build from.

Al Gore
Al Gore: Need to improve IT skills
Computer power doubles every 18 months now, he said. "The consequences are clear in every industry. To take one example - a Ford Taurus now has more computing power than the Apollo 11 that took us to the moon.

"Just six years ago there were no more than 50 sites on the World Wide Web," he added. "Of course, now it is an engine driving the stock market, the futures market ... In the latest Christmas buying season, we saw the real ignition of e-commerce."

But he said many Americans lacked the skills to take advantage of this booming science-based economy and investment would have to put that right.

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