File this under the "Cool New Technology Tidbits" category in your brain. I just came across a new search engine this morning. Qwiki. What does it do? Well, think about Star Trek--how the characters would ask the computer a question, and then the computer would tell them the answer, summarizing anything to give the bare-bones essentials of what the characters needed to know. Qwiki is like that. It's a search engine where you type in a search, and then it returns not a huge long list of results, but rather a video it put together on the fly, complete with pictures and a narrative giving you a summary of the essential facts. It just went open to the public, and you kind of have to see it in action to understand. Go ahead--give it a shot, then come back here.
I tried it with my hometown, and I was pretty impressed with its accuracy. Yes, it got some of the pictures mixed up, but my town isn't exactly a thriving metropolis--I was impressed it got as much right as it did. Plus, the technology is still in the alpha stage, meaning it still has a lot of work before it's ready for prime time. Still, I thought it was pretty interesting as a sign of the sort of direction technology might be heading in. Add this with a good dictation software program like Dragon, and you'd have a rough rendition of the computer on the Starship Enterprise.