Last night, Stephen Wolfram threw the switch on Wolfram Alpha – a ground-breaking… no, make that game changing… “search engine” that computes answers to questions rather than simply drowning you in a torrent of possibly-relevant web pages. Itching to give it a whirl, I asked some of my friends on Twitter to suggest some questions to ask it.
This is the screencast of what happened (press play to start):
Mmm, maybe now we’ve got the ultimate answer-machine, we need to work on the ultimate questions a little more…
Frivolity aside, this is a stupendous achievement. OK so it doesn’t handle nonsense questions that well (although all credit to the Alpha team that it at least handles some of the more “important” ones!) and it needs a crash course in “love.” But what it does do is cut through the digital dross and begin to make sense of the mountains of information data buried in the web. And I suspect that this is just the beginning.
Congratulations Wolfram – you could have just ushered in the next phase in the evolution of the Web!
And a quick note to @physicus – Alpha may struggle with the problem of dispatching small rodents, but Stephen Wolfram’s New Kind of Science works a treat!