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Technology called key to the future

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From humble beginnings rose a global phenomenon, which will continue to change the way the human community works, lives and learns.

The phenomenon is information technology, and E. Floyd Kvamme was instrumental in building its geographic stronghold, Silicon Valley.

Kvamme on Friday was the keynote speaker at the 6th Annual Financial Services and Technology Conference, spearheaded by U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah. A high-tech pioneer, Kvamme was one of five founding members of Silicon Valley giant National Semiconductor. Since 1984, he has been a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, a high-tech venture capital firm. He also has served on the High Tech Advisory Committee and the national finance committee of last year's Bush for President Campaign.

In a sweeping, Bush-esque address at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Kvamme mused on the impact technology will have on everything from education to personal and corporate privacy. He stumped for better and more choice in schools, more school accountability and a balanced government role in navigating the high-tech frontier.

Technology undoubtedly will help businesses continue to expand their market reach and increase efficiency and productivity, Kvamme said. It will help students learn and give individuals a powerful resource for commerce and communication.

"There is absolutely no question that learning is going to be greatly aided by the 'Net," Kvamme said. "That's why it's so important to bring broadband into every home, so we don't leave one child behind."

However, he said, technology brings its own challenges, including privacy, taxation, security and equal access issues.

"We want privacy protection, like we want the best medical care in the world," he said. "But at the same time we don't want our medical records floating around. We have to balance it, because without information, we cannot make advances in the technological area."

One of high technology's greatest byproducts is the shift in emphasis from the bottom line to human capital, Kvamme said. Gone are the days when a company's worth is measured by its balance sheet. Today, a business' value is more likely measured by its people, innovation and technological capability.

"Today, the people are the value of most companies," he said. "People are the key to what makes companies work. And technology will make people productive wherever they are."

Kvamme's address concluded the two-day conference, which Bennett hailed as a success for the industry and Utah.

"The conference brings people to Utah who might otherwise not ever come," Bennett said.

E-mail: jnii@desnews.com