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(Wednesday 25th June 2003)

Here's the problem: searching for words isn't really what you want to do. You'd like to search for ideas, for concepts, for solutions, for answers. Instead, your typical search engine moronically sorts through its postings, and tries to solve your problems by looking at which words appear where, and how often, and so on. What we'd really like is an intelligent search engine. This essay is mostly about why we're not likely to get one any time soon.
Here's what I believe, based on a lot of experience: any search system that could exhibit the kind of intelligence I've described could as a side-effect pass the Turing test, and perhaps qualify for citizenship and protection under the laws of the land.

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Martin Spernau
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