Microsoft recently asked 17 of its researchers (all women), to predict the technological advances they expect to see in 2017, as well as in 2027. The poll was the company’s way to counteract the largely held view that there is a “dearth of women in computing fields”, leading to the “lack of professional role models who could inspire girls to pursue their STEM dreams.”
The researchers’ predictions range from machine learning to biological computation to social sciences to search, among other topics. While you can check them all here on their blog, one prediction that caught our sight was about the ubiquitous search box.
Susan Dumais, a scientist and deputy managing director at the Redmond lab, believes that deep learning models will continue to improve the quality of web search results in 2017. However, in 2027 it will lead to the disappearance of the search box.
So, what will it be replaced by?
It will be replaced by search functionality that is more ubiquitous, embedded and contextually sensitive. We are seeing the beginnings of this transformation with spoken queries, especially in mobile and smart home settings. This trend will accelerate with the ability to issue queries consisting of sound, images or video, and with the use of context to proactively retrieve information related to the current location, content, entities or activities without explicit queries.