IR a solved problem ... in 1981

I was struck by the following passage in Information Retrieval Experiment (1981), p 230, from an essay by Karen Sparck Jones (who is also editor of the collection as a whole):

In the latter part of the 1970s there has been a noticeable decline in the number of laboratory experiments, presumably because the rapid extension of online services has been widely, though in some opinions too uncritically, accepted as solving all the information user's problems.

You could write the same thing today. Is it that information retrieval perennially gives the false appearance of being a solved problem? Or has it really been solved for the past three decades?

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