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Memorable Observations From Farsight 2011: Beyond The Search Box

I didn’t get to watch the livestream of the first half of our Farsight 2011: Beyond The Search Box event today, but the parts I did see were enough to show me just how much of a role the participants played in the way I see and use my online access everyday. For instance, I could not maintain this blog without the help of search engines. But the symposium in San Francisco was really about the future. And for the most part, the participants did not hesitate in presenting, literally one after another, both convergent and divergent ideas detailing what they thought the future of web searching was going to look like.

There were so many great observations that I started taking a few of them down. Below are the more memorable quotes of the second half of the afternoon from panelists like Esther Dyson, Marti Hearst, Mark Drummond, and Sam Altman. Unfortunately, since I am no great typist, these are all unattributed:   

“People hate searching.”

“We don’t always know what we want.”

“Search is altering the way we use our memory.”

“The web can be seen as our external harddrive.”

“The word ‘search’ today is almost meaningless. We are using the web to manipulate the world around us.”

“Every mobile phone is the node of a nervous system for the entire world.”

And my favorite quote of the day, one which will no doubt cause me to make a few queries on a search engine to find out exactly what it means, was:

“Where is the next mathematically scalable incorporation of a social signal?”

Throw some great moderators, a panel on artificial intelligence, along with the report of a dustup between the Google and Bing representatives that I missed but read about on the hashtag “farsight on Twitter while getting logged on to the livestream, and I’ll have to say that it was a very informative, very eye opening day.


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