2005-01-20

The future of the search engines

As the technology behind indexing and searching will evolve, we will probably have context-aware semantic searches.

These new technologies will need new ways for searching.

Keyword search is determined by the keyword based indexing of the information.

The new technologies will probably allow (or even require) other means of specifying what I am after.

One thing I can imagine is reading an interesting document, then opening up the search engine in the middle of a paragraph, and commanding the engine to find additional information about what I'm reading. It will get busy extracting the meaning from the sentence/paragraph/chapter, opening up his enormous knowledge base and showing me books, articles, web pages related to the information in my book.

I can imagine zooming in and out in this result set: the more details I want to see, the more focused results I get. Word, sentence, paragraph level results will give a result set which is more and more generic.

Dixit.

Performance and Precision

If you compare the brain and the computer there are two things in which they differ: performance and precision.

The computer has high precision but it's performance is poor.
The brain is less precise, but it's performance is amazing.

You can search the internet for "Jeff Hawkins" and you'll get a zillion pages. You'll have to manually filter the pages to find the ones related to the author of On intelligence.

Ask any human (who read the book) about Jeff Hawkins, and most probably you'll get a pretty consistent overview of the book, the author's background and the person's view about artificial intelligence.

The information retrieved by the computer is precise. You get all pages from the internet which contains the name Jeff Hawkins.

The information produced by the human is fuzzy, a blob of memories, quotes, feelings, opinions possibly mixed with a few pieces of factual information.

If we ever build thinking machines, we have to trade the computer's precision for an intelligence behavior.

This will determine the areas where intelligent machines will be used.

I think they won't be used to control space shuttle launches.