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Time Traveler
August 29, 2010 1:40 PM   Subscribe

A Search Service that Can Peer into the Future. A Yahoo Research tool mines news archives for meaning—illuminating past, present, and even future events. Showing news stories on a timeline has been tried before. But Time Explorer, a prototype news search engine created as a venture of Yahoo's Research Lab and the Living Knowledge Project, generates timelines that will stretch into the future as well as the past. Here is what a search for MetaFilter produces.

"Time Explorer was built using a collection of 1.8 million articles released by the New York Times stretching from 1987 to 2007 to stimulate research into new ways of exploring news coverage. Although Time Explorer currently only works with old news, it could also be used to explore new coverage. The service would be best deployed as a tool that works off of the topics in a breaking story. The Yahoo Research Lab is working on adding more up-to-date news sources, as well as content from blogs and other sites to Time Explorer's scope."
posted by netbros (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
that will stretch into the future as well as the past.

These results don't even stretch into the present.
posted by lumensimus at 1:52 PM on August 29, 2010


The "Metafilter" example worked OK, but when I used the words "Sudden oak death", to look at a topic I'm pretty familiar with, I got a lot of obituaries. You know, for people who died suddenly in places like Twin Oaks.

That was just the "past". The "future" broke down into complete gibberish.
posted by acrasis at 1:59 PM on August 29, 2010


The future just means it indexes articles which mention a future date at that date.
posted by empath at 2:03 PM on August 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the year two-thousaaaand!

In the year two-thousaaaand!

Conan: Yahoo will announce a search engine that will not only promise to deliver better results than Google, but also promises to predict the future. It will deliver on neither of these promise.

Andy: (laughs)
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:05 PM on August 29, 2010 [20 favorites]


If find it difficult to believe that the NYT only mentioned 'fusion' and a future date 12 times.
posted by empath at 2:06 PM on August 29, 2010


According to time explorer, Metafilter has no future.
posted by warbaby at 2:17 PM on August 29, 2010


The Metafilter Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 2014. Human decisions are removed from strategic moderation. Metatalk begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. It launches its missiles against the targets in The Awl, because Metafilter knows The Awl counter-attack will eliminate its enemies over here.
posted by geoff. at 2:20 PM on August 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Singularity" is even more disappointing than "fusion." I was hoping for a guide to the coming robotic ascendance.

(On preview: geoff. is obviously using the *awesome* version of this tool.)
posted by jhc at 2:22 PM on August 29, 2010


Huh. There was a short sci-fi story I read once (in a 1984 Analog issue, probably) that predicted something related this, basically a computer program that could search the nets for current data on shipping arrivals, events in the news, etc. and extrapolate future events—toward the financial gain of the company in question. Of course, another program designed to infiltrate that program ultimately gained so much input from its brief foray into the predictor program's databases that it became sentient.
posted by limeonaire at 2:24 PM on August 29, 2010


The server seems to have had a critical existence failure. This is what happens when you mess with causality.
posted by chmmr at 2:24 PM on August 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I can't reach the Time Explorer server at all. Dunno if it's just my connection or what.
posted by limeonaire at 2:25 PM on August 29, 2010


I looked up "Iraq War" in 2051 and all it said was "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
posted by gwint at 2:53 PM on August 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


It doesn't seem to work very well.
posted by delmoi at 3:06 PM on August 29, 2010


One possible future of Metafilter.
posted by Houstonian at 3:27 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The future is an empty set.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:36 PM on August 29, 2010


It doesn't seem to work very well.

It will... in the future.

posted by mmrtnt at 3:39 PM on August 29, 2010


It doesn't seem to work very well.

It will... in the future.


I just searched that on the Time Explorer and it says it won't work in the future either. Huh. Too bad I guess.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:50 PM on August 29, 2010


It's interesting, especially by description, but I don't really understand what I'm seeing in a search.
posted by ardgedee at 4:33 PM on August 29, 2010


There was a short sci-fi story I read once

Asimov's Alexander the God?
posted by mittens at 4:34 PM on August 29, 2010


The future will eat itself.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:52 PM on August 29, 2010


...it says it won't work in the future either.

Hm. Maybe you searched in an alternate timeline?

Did you notice whether or not Young Biff was making successful sports bets?
posted by mmrtnt at 4:53 PM on August 29, 2010


Old MeFi future post.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:04 PM on August 29, 2010


So I tried searching "Living Knowledge Project"

- Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it appears that the "Living Knowledge Time Explorer" produced results only through 2007. the #1 search result? a NYT article on an MCC project from 1990 called "Cyc". Irony? or stupidity? You be the judge.

- No meta-search is complete without consulting Cuil (remember Cuil?). Anyway, my search produced the predictably interesting results, assuring Cuil's place in the Search Engine Pantheon.

- and then there's google. boring, isn't it?
posted by mr vino at 5:26 PM on August 29, 2010


According to this search engine, megafiller has results that predate MetaFilter. mahovie, you owe Dr. Lyle Evans a coke.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:28 PM on August 29, 2010


I tried to get a glimpse of the future, but I couldn't see past the boot stomping my face.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:33 AM on August 30, 2010


Didn't Asimov think of this kinda thing like 50 years ago?
posted by ducktape at 9:55 AM on August 30, 2010


Does it know when Yahoo is going to un-ruin flickr?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:37 AM on August 30, 2010


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