Today's Guardian has an interview with Esther Dyson, editor-at-large of CNet. Here's a taster:
Technology Guardian: With the rise of Web 2.0, we're seeing huge growth in the number of startup companies and funding available. But what do you do when a company like Google squashes your business before it's started?
Esther Dyson: Really, the big question is, is Google the end of history? And the answer is that it's not, because the problem is that Google doesn't understand meaning: all it does is index text on the web - it knows nothing. For example, Time Warner acquiring AOL means something very different from AOL acquiring Time Warner - but Google couldn't understand the difference.
So the next big technology will be pattern recognition, which helps us understand what's going on and allows us to understand meaning. Right now a search engine is just a database; it isn't able to connect the dots. That could change if we had better natural language understanding, and Reuters, for example, is already pretty good at some of this. As we move further into TV and photography online, it's going to get more important. I'm an investor in a company, Powerset, which is working in this area.