Saturday, November 20, 2010

Immigration and future technology

Last Sunday, the LA Times had an article about a high school science project competition sponsored by Siemens. High school juniors were competing for scholarships and a chance to progress to the national competition.

The article described several projects and gave the student's names: Akash Krishnan, Matthew Fernandez, Ryan Chow, Eric Huang, Eric Wu, Hanna Lee, Angela Zhang, Jacqueline Wang, Lesley Chan, Edward Huang, Bonnie Lei, Sean Wang, Scott Zhuge, Abhishek Venkataramana, and Andrew Liu.

The names made me smile and feel optimistic about the US. It also reminded me of my father, who was the second of six kids born to immigrant parents in a three room house with no plumbing or electricity.

The entries focused mainly in biology and IT, and the contest winners demonstrated (and patented) a technique for classifying emotion in voice recordings. Being relatively open to immigration has its costs, but we should not overlook the benefits to our economy and culture.