It is of the highest importance, in the art of detection, to be able to recognise out of a number of facts which are incidental and which are vital...
- Sherlock Holmes
"The Web and the amount of information is growing at such a pace that it's an imperative to build an intelligent system that leverages knowledge and exploits it efficiently for people."
- Alain Rappaport
Our accustomed systems of retrieving particular bits of information no longer fill the needs of many people. Searching traditional indexes of print publications has been aided by computerized databases, but still usually requires time-consuming serial searching of one database after the other, and then moving on to other methods of searching for internet sources. And what if the information being sought is a sound byte? A video clip? Yesterday's e-mail exchange between respected scientists? Artificial intelligence may hold the key to information retrieval in an age where widely different formats contain the information being sought, and the universe of knowledge is simply too big and growing too rapidly for successful searching to proceed at a human's slow speed.
Image from Wikipedia.