It might be the English major in me, but I can’t help but wish a search engine existed with the express purpose of delivering profound results for the people. “Aha” moments would dominate the search rankings while information you can get everywhere else falls behind the work of daring thinkers.
This technology, of course, trickles into the ever difficult world of semantics. We’d have to answer “What is profound? How do we determine what resonates with some people while other pieces of information prove repetitive or outside the realm of understanding?”
It’s hard enough today for normal search engines to classify and rank information by search term relevance, but in the future I see tremendous value in reclassifying and making sense of information in entirely new and unheard of ways. Think Pinterest, for example. The social network thrives off of the idea that people collect things they’re fond of. Take this a step further and really what you have is a classification of information based on personal affinity.
The real accomplishment here is that Pinterest didn’t have to devise some grand algorithm or fuss with crawling the web. The social network turned users into the sorters of information, and in many ways that’s what makes Pinterest special. It’s no search engine, of course, but the information that trickles to the top is the well liked.
We’re probably a long way off from a search engine that register’s a person’s developmental stage to figure out what’s meaningful, relevant and profound, but this could very well be the type of thing that’s coming. When it arrives we’ll have more information filters than ever, but as we’re deluged with information the filters become the most important part.