Microsoft researchers predict the search box will disappear by 2027

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Most of us can’t wait for 2016 to end, and researchers at Microsoft are giving us good reason to think ahead. The company polled 17 women working in its research organization about the technology advances they expect to see in 2017, as well as a decade later in 2027. The researchers’ predictions touch on natural language processing, machine learning, agricultural software, and virtual reality, among other topics. You can check them all out here, but I’ve put some of the most interesting predictions below. Spoiler alert: it’s time for you to start thinking about life after the search bar.

For virtual reality, Mar Gonzalez Franco, a researcher in Microsoft’s Redmond lab, believes body tracking will improve next year, and then over the next decade we’ll have “rich multi-sensorial experiences that will be capable of producing hallucinations which blend or alter perceives reality.” Haptic devices will simulate touch to further enhance the sensory experience.

Meanwhile, Susan Dumais, a scientist and deputy managing director at the Redmond lab, believes deep learning will help improve web search results next year. In 2027, however, the search box will disappear, she says. It’ll be replaced by search that’s more “ubiquitous, embedded, and contextually sensitive.” She says we’re already seeing some of this in voice-controlled searches through mobile and smart home devices. We might eventually be able to look things up with either sound, images, or video. Plus, our searches will respond to “current location, content, entities, and activities” without us explicitly mentioning them, she says. Of course, it’s worth noting that Microsoft has been losing the search box war to Google, so it isn’t surprising that the company thinks search will die.

With global warming as a looming threat, Asta Roseway, principal research designer, says by 2027 famers will use AI to maintain healthy crop yields, even with “climate change, drought, and disaster.” Low-energy farming solutions, like vertical farming and aquaponics, will also be essential to keeping the food supply high, she says.

So can we hurry up and get through the rest of 2016 and maybe even 2017? I’m ready for the future.

Comments

"play melancholy music."

"play different melancholy music."

Famers gonna fame.

Interesting and logical ideas. But why is polling 17 people, and mentioning the search box only once, worthy of such a headline? This seems like more of a Recode short.

It’s called Google Now and Google has been working on it for 4 years already. Pro prediction Microsoft.

I was going to say, I don’t think google thinks search boxes are the future either.

Fifteen years later, I’m still running Windows XP on two of my computers

A couple of botnet operators will do the same

Just ONE researcher mentioned the search box thingy as his own personal opinion.

Somehow this turns into the headline for the piece and is interpreted by the writer as an official position of the entire Microsoft corp, borne out of bitterness at losing the search wars to Google.

Wow.

Wrong. It will disappear in 2024. Microsoft is always late to these things.

…okay, Doctor Who. Now pls calm down

"it’s worth noting that Microsoft has been losing the search box war to Google, so it isn’t surprising that the company thinks search will die…"

Even in that field they’re late, there something called Google Now and Home

There’s also Cortana, Siri and Alexa. What’s your point?

The search box will NEVER disappear. It could evolve in a way as to utilise natural command input, but it will still be there. This is largely for the reason that humans don’t often know what they are searching for, so an autocomplete letter by letter suggestion box will always be required.

Control through natural language commands and so forth is all good and may come to dominate the way people find information and execute tasks, but there will always be instances where putting fingers to keyboard will just be more efficient.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Microsoft has been losing the search box war to Google, so it isn’t surprising that the company thinks search will die.

Ouch, all that Salt is going to ruin my blood pressure

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