An interview with Ami Gal, CEO of SQream Technologies
The era of Big Data has arrived. Obtaining and analyzing massive data sets is changing many aspects of modern life from transportation to political cycles and advertising. On a basic level, we are being studied through the devices we use and encounter each day, and vast amounts of data are being accumulated. The information obtained is being used by interests, both public and private, to develop and optimize various processes including automated cars, homeland security, election cycles and the identification of cancer and other illnesses.
Ami Gal is co-founder of SQream Technologies, a budding big data firm, which delivers one-of-a-kind advances, boasting the ability to analyze massive amounts of data up to a hundred times faster than its competitors.
“On the front end, the algorithms we use (for different applications) may be different.” Gal explains. “For example, when comparing medical data or allowing a self-driving car to operate. But the back end is almost identical: The ability to process huge amounts of data with very small hardware and software requirements is where SQream comes in.”
Big data has the potential to benefit a multitude of fields such as self-driving automobiles and accurate genome mapping. According to SQream this technology, called GenomeStack ‘allows scientists and analysts in the genome industry to rapidly extract time-critical knowledge that has been unattainable speed and scale wise thus far, enabling them to get to the answers they are looking for – way ahead of expected timelines.’ “We are very proud of the technology which can actually compare gene abnormalities extremely fast” says Gal.
“We have been experiencing an explosion of data in the last twenty years or so,” he explains. “We have a lot of data coming from the internet, beginning in the era of Google and Yahoo. Seven years ago came another range of huge data sets from the mobile world. I think it’s fair to say that mobile became a prominent creator of big data.” SQream’s co-founder and CEO added that the last two years have seen the emergence of another, even-larger major data provider, sensors located in the world all around us, which constantly monitor our behavior activity and habits.
SQream’s unique system has been adopted by companies such as French cellphone giant Orange and Israeli provider Cellcom, as well as Israel’s Sheba medical center, where it puts big data analytics to work managing vast amounts of genomic information. But data management will enable another technology, which has the potential to entirely revolutionize Western society: the arrival of the self-driving car, which is expected to be on the road at the end of this decade.
“Autonomous cars were not possible in the past because there was no technology that could handle such large data sets (data compiled by the car itself throughout the time of its driving) to allow the car to drive and behave as it should in certain situations and respond to certain situations on the road.”
But what of the fears that this technology raises, particularly the fear that Artificial intelligence may render human ability obsolete in the coming decades? Gal believes that in many cases, these technologies will supplement rather than replace human beings in the work place.
“I certainly think that some jobs that you see today are going to disappear,” he predicts. “I am not sure how many jobs that can be automated will continue to be done by humans. But at the same time there are new requirements which are geared towards human designed thinking and tactics and strategies in which humans will remain strong. There is a huge shortage of people in financial, technology, and non-technological skills that are not being addressed today. In our field these include data analysts, data architects, scientists and also people who can make sense of insights. This is one category which is lacking now because there aren’t enough people there.”