Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Drop of Intelligence

Google has became the most used search engine on the web and has made its owners proud and filthy rich and all this with good reasons. Lately I have been checking out a new feature of Google: if you have an account with them, you can sign in and then do your searches and the search history is kept. Now I haven't got that far using it and I don't know the exact reasons for which they implemented it but it reminded me about my earlier studies of search engines, web crawlers and agents where I found an interesting concept: doing customized searches. Now just imagine that you are a botanist, you log on to Google, do a search query for, let's say "cell", and the results you receive are just what you expected, no more useless links to irrelevant information like prison cells or sheet cells or even human or animal cells...just info about good ol' vegetable cells. That would be nice, wouldn't it? I think it would be great to be able to do that and I also believe it is doable. Just by asking for more details about the user doing the search, his/her background, profession, interests, hobbies and other personal info and then ranking the results against this information, more relevant results can be produced.
This is just a simple example using simple facts and reasoning, the applications you write don't even have to be that smart, you just need to classify information thoroughly. Also with the developments for the new semantic web that are currently happening at W3C, we will begin to see a web that will be more and more close to our human reasoning than the experiences we have today. I just hope that the semantic web will catch on, if not I am sure there will be plenty of ideas and developments to make our computer experiences more "humane".
What I have told you until now is practically just scratching the surface. Just imagine the plethora of intelligent applications and agents that could at least take care of menial tasks like paying the bills for you on time so you never will be late on payments again, investing in the stock market for you, betting sports for you or participating in the lottery for you every week. We should be able to use technology to make our life easier, take care of our menial tasks so we have more free time to enjoy ourselves and I believe that the near future will make this a reality.

Playing for Change