OnQ Blog

Spark Questionnaire: Dr. Irwin Jacobs

Nov 1, 2012

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Dr. Irwin Jacobs is an electrical engineer and founding chairman and CEO Emeritus for Qualcomm. 

QUALCOMM SPARK: What is the most influential tech invention of the 21st century?

JACOBS: An argument can be made for the Internet as most influential in the 20th century despite great competition, but - no surprise - my clear choice for this century is the smartphone which increasingly impacts every aspect of our lives with ubiquitous access to the Internet, super computing power, GPS, graphics, high-def video and camera, apps, and sensors to provide useful data about ourselves and the world around us.

QUALCOMM SPARK: What device or technology hasn't yet been invented that you wished would be?

JACOBS: Real-time translation would help bring the world closer together, but my most immediate needs involve face recognition with perhaps the camera mounted on an ear bud to whisper contact information and a hearing aid that works in background noise.

QUALCOMM SPARK: What are the top 5 apps on your phone?

JACOBS: Calendar, contacts, Internet,clock, camera & gallery, maps, and email of course, plus stocks, newspapers, Kindle, YouTube, and OpenTable.

QUALCOMM SPARK: How will technology change our daily lives 20 years from now?

JACOBS: Hopefully by helping eradicate many of the diseases that now impact our life span and quality of life, with a strong contribution from telemedicine, but perhaps even more critically by providing sustainable and less-polluting energy supplies and means to mitigate climate change that is already unavoidable.

QUALCOMM SPARK: If you could video chat with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

JACOBS: It would be fascinating to again chat with Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, to discuss the great impact that his theories on source and channel coding and cryptography have now had on our mobile world.

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