Wolfram Alpha + Backroom stories

Heart about WolframAlpha on a TWiT (This Week in Tech) some days back. Sounds like some cool new FPS, but it’s not. Built by a certified genius Stephen Wolfram, this is a description:

Wolfram|Alpha is the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. … We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. … Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

But before you say, “Oh, like google?” No, it’s NOT A SEARCH ENGINE.

Try putting in random bits of information, like your name, birthdate, or even like H1N1. What it does is it gets a range of information that it thinks is relevant based on stuff the system can get about you (e.g. your location based on your IP) and the text you entered – contextual intelligence?

Stephen Wolfram
Mr Wolfram a.k.a. What a genius looks like

Just last night, I was having a conversation with a new friend who is in the midst of a career change and got the low-down on the inner workings of his (dis)organisation, who I have dealings with. It’s one thing to have stuff like google, and now wolfram|Alpha, but there are always going to be things that only personal conversations will pick up.

P.S. Swine Flu a.k.a. H1N1 has hit Singapore.


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