Over and over, you hum a melody, trying to identify the song. You sing it to a friend, but either he doesn't know it, or he can't make out your tuneless drone. Until recently, you were out of luck. But now, a new website called Midomi.com can hunt down a tune for you when you hum or sing it into your computer's microphone. And it will even automatically correct for your mistakes, says Keyvan Mohajer, CEO of Melodis, the maker of Midomi.
I wonder if one can play a song off the radio into the microphone and then have the search engine tell you what song you are currently listening to. That would be handy.
I see each step forward in search technology as a step toward artificial intelligence. Search is pattern recognition. Pattern recognition is a key function of cognition. Humans take a pattern and find matching patterns all the time. Ever hummed a song to someone so that they could tell you who wrote it or what the lyrics are for it? Did you think you were doing something uniquely human when you did this? Not any more.
Pattern recognition can be done by computers with text, sound, still images, and video streams. With the development of the right sort of sensor a search engine could even tell you what you are smelling or tasting. The popularity of search engines has created a huge and growing demand for better pattern recognition software using larger data sets and more kinds of data. I expect this demand and the revenue that comes from it to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence.