Let's Party Like It's 1994 - Re-Imagining How to Find Stuff Online

Talk by Martin Hamilton (He/him) 👩‍👧

Friday from 1:40 PM - 2:10 PM in Stage B

Internet search results were a toxic hellstew of ads, SEO spam, content farms and misinformation/disinformation even before the arrival of Large Language Models like ChatGPT in 2023. In 2024 nearly half the world’s population votes in elections that will have consequential impacts for key issues like climate change and civil rights, and it’s more important than ever before that search results can be relied upon. This talk will highlight a few ways to put search back in the service of the searcher rather than a handful of global megacorps. We’ll time-travel 30 years to the Internet’s Cambrian Explosion period, before Lycos, AltaVista and BackRub/PageRank, and look how technologies like Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and open source self-hosted meta-search engines like SearXNG can help. And then, demo gods permitting, I’ll show you how this can all come together to put a search engine in every pocket.

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