wolfram|alpha – artificial intelligence

Once, in an intimate moment, my sister looked at me and said:

“Don’t judge me.”

She followed this with:

“I think Donald Trump is Sexy.”

I didn’t, of course. Judge. How could I? Growing up, Walter Matthau was my Backstreet Boy. I also think Stephen Wolfram is all kinds of hot.

If you don’t already know, Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica and its spawn: Wolfram|Alpha. Wolfram, the man, is quick to point out that Alpha’s not a search engine. Unlike Google, Wolfram|Alpha doesn’t just look up sites. Rather, Wolfram|Alpha is sort of like SkyNet. (It even sounds all SkyNet-y, huh?) It implements methods and models and algorithms that science and other areas have built up over the centuries to compute answers to questions in real time.

Search engines search what other people may have written down. Wolfram|Alpha uses built in knowledge, curating a zillion different sources of raw facts and data, to compute answers to specific questions. Eight million lines of Mathematica code, built by experts in many different fields (though it still maintains a strong science/math slant), to answer questions that use ordinary human language.

Fancy feat, eh?

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