the future and the past

January 3, 2002
Link of the Moment
Ranjit pointed out a new service of Google: catalogs.google.com. Unlike their brilliant Usenet and image searches, this one seems pretty sketchy. If you do a search, say for "sewing machine", the results are in the form of catalog cover, page from the catalog, then a graphical close up of where the search words appear, with the words highlighted...in other words, the system is entirely based in scanned in versions of the mail-order catalog, unlike most online catalogs, which are product and database driven. Google's idea is all too freaky retro-future for me, like what some C=64 using computer geekling in 1985 would think the future of online shopping would look like.

Interview Response of the Moment
Q: So what would an intelligent car be like, for example?
A: Well, there may never be such a thing . But we used to have intelligent cars; they were called horses. And they used to know stuff that our cars don't know. They used to know where they lived and how to get home and how not to knock over people. Even how to refuel themselves. The amazing thing was that they could even make new cars. The intelligent car would be like a horse. Something that really enjoyed a good drive and prided itself on not knocking people down.
--Steve Grand, AI/A-life research and inventor of "Creatures", from this salon.com interview.