- Image via Wikipedia
Me need. Me hunt. Me gather. Ugh!
Except perhaps for the “ugh,” that’s how sophisticated today’s Internet is. The “ugh” merely expresses what a pain hunting and gathering for information can be. Welcome to new media’s Stone Age.
The Web is wonderful. There are approximately 185.5 million Web sites containing billions of Web pages. Each person has a lot of needs and interests, and there almost certainly is a Web site that can satisfy them.
The problem: you have to search for sites that satisfy your needs and interests. Sure, you return to some sites often, but at some time you had to initially find that site. Moreover, you’re now finding more new sites that interest you. Finding sites is why you use search engines, themselves the mostheavily trafficked siteson the Web.
You’re hunting and gathering Web sites that satisfy your needs and interests. How many sites do you visit each day? How many times daily do you use a search engine?
Or perhaps you’re one of the less than 10 percent of Web users who isn’t a Neanderthal or a Cro-Magnon: you’re somebody who has figured out how to configure RSS software to automatically deliver to you the contents of sites you’ve already found. Well, shake your stick and go to the head of the cave!
Being hunters-gatherers is the most primitive form of existence. It predates the agricultural era, never mind the industrial or informational eras. It isn’t entirely satisfactory, and it sure doesn’t make for good business. Therein lies opportunity.
Computers arephenomenally more powerfulnow than they were even at the beginning of this decade. This awesome technological wealth of computing power online — encompassing servers, routers, and users’ personal computers — has the potential to do more than create an informational Web on which we can hunt and gather.
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web — the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A “Semantic Web,” which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The “intelligent agents” people have touted for ages will finally materialize.
Berners-Lee’s vision is of a Web that hunts and gathers for you based on your instructions, past behavior, and changing needs (aided by Internet-connected personal computers, phone, vehicles, and appliances). It routinely and automatically finds all the specific information you seek, gathering and organizing it for you.