A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Powerset in NY Times, Venturebeat

The company I work for, Powerset, is being written up in the New York Times and Venturebeat, both reporting on a deal between Powerset and PARC. The New York Times article (behind a registration wall, alack) mostly follows the storied arc of the Palo Alto Research Center, where the graphical user interface and ethernet were born but capitalized on more by rivals rather than its original owner, Xerox. Our CEO, Barney Pell is quoted:

For a lot of things, keyword search works well. But I think we are going to look back in 10 years and say, remember when we used to search using keywords.

The Venturebeat article is more interesting, I think. It tells a bit more of the story behind the deal between Powerset and PARC. It also includes an interview with Peter Norvig, the Director of Research at Google. Norvig is a GOFAI (“good old fashioned artificial intelligence”) guy who switched to what is now the standard modern AI approaches to language (crunching the statistics of words and other things) “about 15 years ago,” as he says in the Venturebeat article. He also says (when asked about natural language and search),

We feel there is a lot to do in the field of search, with many ways to approach it. Search remains at the core of everything Google does and we are always working to improve it.

This feels similar to what Pell said in his weblog a while ago, “Search is in its early days, and natural language is the future of search.”

This makes us, of course, a rebel with a clause.


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