Unknown Heroes

Written by: Bradley Bloch, CEO of factura.ai

Last week I saw a headline that Russell Kirsch passed away. My first reaction was, who is Russell Kirsch? After reading the article about his amazing achievements, I thought I would dedicate an article to highlight some of the geniuses who have contributed to technologies that have made factura.ai possible. They may not have millions of instagram followers like Kim Kardashian but these are the true celebrities that we should be admiring. Without these innovators, many of the technologies that we use today on a daily basis wouldn’t have existed, and our lives would be less productive.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the individuals who contributed to some of the technology behind factura.ai as it takes a village to raise a barn, but these are four individuals who should receive our praise.

Russell Kirsch

Born in Manhattan on June 20, 1929, he is celebrated for inventing the pixel.

In 1951 Kirsch joined the National Bureau of Standards as part of the team that ran SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer). SEAC was the U.S.’s first stored-program computer to become operational, having entered service in 1950.

In 1957, Kirsch’s group developed a digital image scanner, to “trace variations of intensity over the surfaces of photographs”, and made the first digital scans. One of the first photographs scanned, a picture of Kirsch’s three-month-old son, was captured as just 30,976 pixels, a 176 × 176 array, in an area 5 cm × 5 cm (2″ x 2″). That picture was named by Life magazine in 2003 as one of the “100 Photographs That Changed the World” due to its importance in the development of digital photography

Kirsch died on August 11, 2020 at the age of 91, at his home in Portland.

Because of Kirsch’s invention, you can keep digital copies of all invoices and even snap a picture to digitize the invoice.

Raymond Kurzweil

Raymond Kurzweil was born February 12, 1948 in Queens, New York. He is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments.

In 1974, Kurzweil founded Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc. and led the development of the first omni-font optical character recognition system, a computer program capable of recognizing text written in any normal font. Before that time, scanners had only been able to read text written in a few fonts.

Kurzweil’s next major business venture began in 1978, when Kurzweil Computer Products began selling a commercial version of the optical character recognition computer program which he eventually sold to Xerox.

Kurzweil went on to found many other businesses for electronic music that won him a Grammy in 2015 and computer speech recognition systems for commercial use.

Kurzweil has been working at Google as a director of engineering since 2012.

Because of Kurzweil and his development of OCR technology, you can automatically extract data from an invoice, eliminating the need for any data entry.

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider was born on March 11, 1915, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was an American psychologist and computer scientist who is considered one of the most important figures in computer science and general computing history.

Licklider was instrumental in conceiving, funding and managing the research that led to modern personal computers and the Internet.

While working at DARPA, the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the ‘60’s, he sent a memo to his colleagues outlining the early challenges presented in establishing a time-sharing network of computers with the software of that time. Ultimately, his vision led to ARPANet, the precursor of today’s Internet.

Cloud computing is believed to have been invented by Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider in the 1960s with his work on ARPANET to connect people and data from anywhere at any time.

He has been called “computing’s Johnny Appleseed”, for planting the seeds of computing in the digital age; Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC’s Computer Science Laboratory and Digital Equipment Corporation’s Systems Research Center, noted that “most of the significant advances in computer technology—including the work that my group did at Xerox PARC—were simply extrapolations of Licklider’s vision. They were not really new visions of their own. So he was really the father of it all”.

He died June 26, 1990.

Because of Licklider, you do not need to download factura.ai’s software like many older AP automation platforms as factura.ai runs in the cloud and is accessible from your browser.

Vint Cerf

Vinton Cerf was born on June 23, 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut. He is an American Internet pioneer and is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet”.

Cerf worked as assistant professor at Stanford University from 1972-1976 where he conducted research on packet network interconnection protocols and co-designed the protocols for the way information moves on the internet.

In the late 1980s, Cerf moved to MCI where he helped develop the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) to be connected to the Internet.

Cerf has worked for Google as a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since October 2005.

Because of Cerf, you can access factura.ai remotely from any browser around the world, as long as you have an internet connection.

Standing ovation!