Once upon a time we assumed that no one cared about our search habits on the internet, that no one kept track of the nature of our queries and what drove those queries, our thoughtstream, wants, desires, needs, social networks, etc. But, Google-the search engine-cares, by keeping track of these queries, particularly since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and devised a system it called Zeitgeist, a clever public relations tool that summarizes search terms that are gaining/losing momentum at a particular period in time. The original link site is at http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.com , for further inquiry.
John Battelle, author of "The Search-How Google & Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture"-renamed Google's Zeitgeist as "The Database of Intentions", where an unending world of our information is exchanged, without absolute control by anyone, and where Media & Technology intertwine and continue to lead to limitless possibilities for others to use our personal information for good or for evil.
I agree with the author that, in addition to our thoughtstreams being subpoenaed, archived, tracked and exploited for all sorts of ends, it is also being studied to create artificial intelligence in computers/robots capable of fooling an inquirer to believe it is human by acting, by all measures, like a human being, when not seen face-to-face by the real human interrogator.
The Database of Intentions is building second-by-second across the Internet because a device is tracking questions we ask, and is using the aggregated information for multi-billion marketing and media, for technology, pop culture (created the word Blog), international law or civil liberties. While organizations in the various trade/business sectors can use the Database to meet what the world wants in general, vulnerable individuals see information explosion on the web as a threat. Why? Because an individual's digital identity or an organization's identity is immortalized once it is clicked in the Search box and can be retrieved indefinitely upon demand.
The future of Search, according to the author, will be more about Understanding, rather than simply Finding. What this means is that since our human energy and thoughts are somewhat finite, we eventually must designate gigantic tasks to the computer to fulfill as Google does with it's search engine. Others believe that "Search" is an obvious place for intelligence to happen, and it is starting to happen.
A machine, such as the computer, can understand what you are looking for, but must pass the 'Turing' test, in order to be considered as intelligent. Accordingly, the 'Turing' test is computing's holiest of grails as explained in the ' Search' by British mathematician Alan Turing, in a seminal 1950 article. Mr. Turing reportedly lays out a model by which to prove whether or not a machine can be considered intelligent. Mr. Turing also predicted that by the year 2000, computers would be smart enough to have a serious go at passing the Turing test. This test and its prescripts are presently subject to intense academic debate.
In 1990, 'a wealthy oddball', Hugh Loebner (according to the Search), offered $100,000 to the 1st computer to pass the test, but to date, none has! Why? Because searchers continue to frame command questions or search queries the wrong way. Contestants for the prize money are focusing on building singular robots with millions of potential answer to coded sequences to the extent that for a particular query, the programmed computer might give a plausible answer.
Cyc (pronounced "psych"), a working program from A1 pioneer, Doug Lenat, is reportedly making the most-famous efforts to program the computer to pass the Turing test. He has declared that getting the computer to understand voiced/voiceless commands by coding in hundreds of thousands of simple, commonsense rules via the clever application of algorithms that harness and leverage the intelligence already extant on the Web, as his life's work. For example, rules as simple as--valleys are between hills or mountains, heat melts ice, fish swim, birds fly, then walk, then twit, then sing-- and then build a robust model based on those simple rules for the computer to understand and execute these commands as done in Star Trek.
While Google continues to lead in Web Search on the Web, it's small challengers as of late, is Microhoo--(Microsoft & Yahoo)--for both are posed to overtake Google, reports CNN News recently. Wired magazine also states that such a pose is good for Microsoft (an interactive pc pioneer), to inch up to searches worldwide in this new venture, it is good for consumers, and regardless of the new challengers presence and hopeful progress, they will still want to keep their Google. We shall all be living witnesses!