The Answer Machine is a practical, non-technical guide to the technologies behind information seeking and analysis. It introduces search and content analytics to software buyers, knowledge managers, and searchers who want to understand and design effective online environments. The book describes how search evolved from an expert-only to an end user tool. It provides an overview of search engines, categorization and clustering, natural language processing, content analytics, and visualization technologies. Detailed profiles for Web search, eCommerce search, eDiscovery, and enterprise search contrast the types of users, uses, tasks, technologies, and interaction designs for each. These variables shape each application, although the underlying technologies are the same. Types of information tasks and the trade-offs between precision and recall, time, volume and precision, and privacy vs. personalization are discussed within this context. The book examines trends toward convenient, context-aware computing, big data and analytics technologies, conversational systems, and answer machines. The Answer Machine explores IBM Watson's DeepQA technology and describes how it is used to answer health care and Jeopardy questions. The book concludes by discussing the implications of these advances: how they will change the way we run our businesses, practice medicine, govern, or conduct our lives in the digital age.
Table of Contents: Introduction / The Query Process and Barriers to Finding Information Online / Online Search: An Evolution / Search and Discovery Technologies: An Overview / Information Access: A Spectrum of Needs and Uses / Future Tense: The Next Era in Information Access and Discovery / Answer Machines