Are we one step closer to the Matrix and the all-knowing Oracle? For a few days it seemed Google was trying to head in that direction with its reported iteration of the Knowledge Graph. Enter the Google Knowledge Vault, which aims to be the largest store of knowledge in human history without any human help. Turns out, as Google claims, that this story came from a May 2014 research paper and is not a product currently in production.

Interestingly, this raises a few questions…The existence of a research paper indicates that at least someone in the company is thinking about the idea. And, according to Search Engine Land, Google says that the process of using machines to find and interpret facts and data is already under way. So can this really be that far away?

What does this mean for the current search model? As one commenter on the Search Engine Land story, Meh, said, “If the future setup is that Google trawls that content and displays it on Google, rather than referring you to the source…the incentive loop is gone. I’m not saying this will happen overnight, but there will be a tipping point where the business model for the type of sites Google is trawling disappears.” Perhaps this is starting to happening with the existing local and mobile search changes. More and more content is being served up directly in the search results page. Where is the user’s incentive to click through to the host website?

Does this make search engine optimization more important or does it make it obsolete? You still have to help the bots find information, which is the essence of optimization. But once they have captured the information, is there a need to come back? Does this mean adding new content to get their continued attention is even more important? And, how will the users (your potential customers) interact with the search engines and ultimately your website?

It does make one wonder…