Thursday, January 04, 2007

Humans Suck at Predicting the Future

I really liked this post from Chris Fralic, which points us to all the awesome predictions of things that were supposed to happen in the Internet in 1995:
"Gopher. The lower-profile poor cousin from outta town, the media has been so absorbed in the publishing potential of Mosaic that it hasn't noticed the continued, and dramatic, growth of this easier-to-use; albeit less visually sexy; alternative. One key difference: I can always find what I want in Gopherspace with only a step or two."
Yeah - that Mosaic thing was really a flash in the pan... Still, one other prediction caught my eye:
"The first intelligent agent software packages will emerge, allowing Net users to ask for a specific piece of information like "What is the population of Fiji?" or "How far is Saturn from the Sun?" An agent will go out on the Net , find the information, and return it without the user knowing the source."
Hey! - I remember all that 'Agent ' talk - (wasn't that where Clippy came from?) But this question reminded me of something I found in HTTPSpace much more recently - Hakia.

Hakia claims to be a "meaning based" search engine, and you know it's not half bad. For instance, try the results to both of those far-off zany impossible questions:
You'll find the correct answers easily - first hit, first page. It's not perfect - but it certainly is intriguing. Mind you, Google does a better job than Hakia, no doubt - I don't even have to leave the search result page to get the answers....Truth be told, I don't know if I'd pick "Internet Search" for my first start-up venture...Having said that, I find myself constantly returning to it, which I guess is a sign that it must be kind of good.

It's no "Intelligent Agent", but I guess I've always got Search Dog for that...

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