in Business & Marketing

Characterizing Search with Tor Thompson from Microsoft Bing

At Friends of Search 2017 (Twitter #fos17) today, the very experienced Tor Thompson (and very attractive!) is speaking about the future of search and the role Microsoft will play in this future.

What characterizes us? Tor explains that it’s the exceptions to the norm. Those things that make us different from everyone else. This is how Microsoft and Bing is approaching their existence. Be different. Be unique. Something that Steve Jobs also believed in very much at Apple. Think different. It’s the crazy ones, that often change the world…

Tor starts off with introducing her experiences and the history of her journey at Microsoft and Bing. This slide brings this together.

Managing exceptions is part of driving performance …. taking it a step further then Google. That’s what Bing all about…

Bing is gaining market share in search across numerous markets thanks to Windows 10 adoption. The growth is real and its a real opportunity for business to grab market-share in search from their competitors and enjoy the uplift and growth Bing Ads is experiencing currently. This will continue to grow as Windows 10 continues to be adopted.

It’s about the people! Understanding intent, context and human behavioral signals is so key to understanding people and helping them when they need you. Artificial intelligent will play a bog role in processing the vast amount of behavioral data we are now collecting in order to drive more meaningful connections through advertising and helping us live our lives.

So what does the future look like? Before you can look into the future you need to understand the past. The past, present and future of the telephone in one slide:

Cortana which is the Microsoft virtual assistant is the interface between us humans asking questions and bots connecting to data sources to answer these questions. Bots are very specialized agents (programs) that are the relay between us or our virtual assistant and the source of the information we need.

Here is a youtube on Cortana …. Some maybe affraid. Other would welcome this technology in their lives. It will come if we want it or now. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook and many others are building this technology already and its already here. In the form of an innocent virtual assistant. See a post I made on this recently.

And if you want to get a sense of what the future could look like in 20-30 years from now watch the movie Her:

And you could watch the Netflix series Black Mirror …. But I am warning you, this is pretty full on! It tries to show some possible futures we could expect. And virtual reality. mixed reality, virtual assistants and artificial intelligence play key roles in many of these futures.

But now back to Tor’s presentation 🙂 …

Tor stressed the importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which is manifested to us humans as virtual assistants and bots. This is the future of how we will interact with technology and access the information we need to live our lives and be inspired to take action.

Check out this video from Microsoft, where they help the Blind live more meaningful lives with technology to access a sense that most of us take for granted every day: Sight.

Technology after all is just a tool. What technology does is turn scarcity into abundance. From accessing energy (solar panels and windmills…), to transportation (cars, planes, ubber…) to accessing information and connecting (eg the web), these technologies turn what was once a scares resource into something abundance and universally accessible to all of humanity (in time).

Two great books to read on this topic is  Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think and The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. These are book I have read multiple times and recommend anyone wanting to understand our future and the role that technology will play in our lives read.

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