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Issue No. 01 - January (1997 vol. 30)
ISSN: 0018-9162
pp: 71-78
<p>Virtually cost-free publication on the Web has led to information overload. AI, with its roots in knowledge representation, is experiencing a renaissance as new tools emerge to make the Web more tractable. </p> <p>The Internet, fueled by the phenomenal popularity of the World Wide Web, has exhibited exponential growth over the past three years. But virtually instantaneous and cost-free publication, inherent in the WWW, leads to problems with information overload. In the case of the WWW, the ease of self-publication has helped generate an estimated 50-120 million pages on the Web, a figure that is growing every day. </p> <p>Search engines help users navigate the millions of pages. However, even the best search engines cannot efficiently circumnavigate the entire Web. A naive search using AltaVista, for example, can result in 100,000-plus matches. New search engines can structure queries in a user-friendly fashion, but they require the user to learn and manage numerous interfaces. We may now have digital libraries on our desktops, but it still takes an immense amount of manual effort to use them. </p> <p>AI will play a crucial role in making the WWW usable. AI has been around for 40 years, yet in some people's view it has not lived up to its (perhaps overblown) promise. Many domains create intractable problems for AI, and many expert systems are either too narrow or too brittle. But the Web is a perfect environment for AI, with its roots in problem solving and knowledge representation. An increasing number of Web-based AI applications-intelligent search engines and browsers, learning agents, and knowledge-sharing agents-have begun to emerge. And although these AI applications have grown increasingly attractive because of the Internet, they may hold even more promise for intranets. </p>

D. E. O'Leary, "The Internet, Intranets, and the AI Renaissance," in Computer, vol. 30, no. , pp. 71-78, 1997.
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