It’s almost like the “super computers” we see in science fiction movies. You ask the computer a question and the computer gives an answer. The question can be a request for historical data, a mathematic equation, the current temperature of a city, and so on. The thing is: the computer “understands” the question.
But this isn’t about science fiction.
We might be looking at a major milestone in computer and knowledge history: Wolfram Alpha was launched last night. I think we can safely say that not since the launch of Google’s search engine (and the mathematic algorithms behind it) or the explosive growth of Wikipedia have we witnessed, as consumers, such an important milestone in how we access and manipulate knowledge.
Yeah, sure YouTube has become a huge database of humanity’s video content and Facebook has connected or reconnected tens of millions. But Wolfram Alpha takes us back to the power of more complex “computing”.
It’s not a search engine that looks for the occurrence of a certain word on some webpage. It brings back data. It understands your question and bring back relevant DATA. It computes, plots, compares. It’s geographic, physical, mathematic, historical.
It’s a totally ambitious project by some really brainy people.
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