Written by Cary Straw, Senior Web Patroller
July 6, 2015
As a society and especially as individuals we are more and more dependent on the technology around us, and rightly so. At times it seems almost magical in its ability to search out and uncover whatever our heart desires in a particular moment.
Only a couple of decades ago if you wanted to find out something about the world or one of the people in it, that meant a journey to a repository of information called a library. This meant actually leaving your house. Once there you’d spend several hours of your time culling through a catalog of paper index cards, leafing through page after page of volumes of books in search of the sought after piece of information. Then began the laborious process of transcribing that information onto paper for you to be able to refer to back home, which was always a long walk, uphill, both ways, in two feet of snow…wait maybe that part was just me. Anyway, the point is that if the information was out there and your research skills honed enough you would nearly always find what you were looking for because the human brain, with all its perceived limitations is still the most amazing computer on the planet.
Jump forward to today. Just the fact that you found and are reading this blog post by a person who may be on the other side of the world on your own personal computer, which may also be your phone and likely no larger than a few square inches, means that something crucial has evolved. That being of course technology, specifically, computing and the Internet. Today is truly a magical time where we have digital assistants who, when given just a few key words to go on, present you with sometimes millions of points of potentially relevant information that encompasses an ever expanding global library of content and information.
So it’s easy to see how so many people feel that there is no need for the culling through info of days past, when apparently the answer is right at your fingertips without much human interaction or effort on your part. However, that approach is flawed in many ways and the reason Caveon, unlike much of our competition who rely primarily on technology tools, utilize the best team in Human Computing to enhance, justify and improve upon those pure technology toolsets. It’s our everything old is new again philosophy. Without even knowing it, those years and decades of searching, culling, comparing, editing and transcribing by hand gave our brains a skill set and intuition that even the best online tools, search engines and algorithms have yet to achieve.
The results presented by technology tools alone are only as good as the info they index, the algorithms they are created on and the keywords fed into them. So, if we perform two searches, one by technology alone and one by humans alone we would likely get the following results.
Computer tool alone:
1. Can generate a very large volume of hits.
2. Not all hits are particularly relevant to the actual content you are searching for (very apparent if you look at typical Google search results pages beyond the first few results.)
3. Search results are limited to just the particular indexes of the tool you use.
4. Results must be further edited manually.
1. Significantly fewer results found,
2. Results are typically extremely relevant to the actual search query
3. Intuition and context skills allow humans to much more quickly search other types of sites that may also contain relevant content. For instance, a hint in a forum conversation, that wouldn’t show up in a keyword search but implies where to find the info being searched for).
4. Due to lower search result numbers, important hits may be missed or take longer to discover.
So it seems a no brainer really. We believe the solution is to combine the best in technology with the best in Human Computing to find the best and most relevant hits as quickly as possible. Until the day computers reach the point that they truly surpass our capabilities and we can sit back, relax, let our computer friends do all the heavy lifting for us and pursue more esoteric pursuits. However, if you’ve seen the movie, WALL-E, you know how that turns out for us.