Next Version of Internet May Include Brain!

Published Date
09 - Mar - 2009
| Last Updated
09 - Mar - 2009
Next Version of Internet May Include Brain!

The problem with the web today is, it has no idea what the hell you’re talking about! It doesn’t understand what you are asking of it. Search for an artist you like and you’re OK but ask it “what was the highest temperature in New Delhi last week”, and it fails embarrassingly.

If Stephen Wolfram has his way the web will get much smarter this May, with the launch of their new technology Wolfram|Alpha, a system which is capable of computing  answers to questions. However it isn’t limited to any field or type of question. It actually understands what you are asking of it, and computes the answer! It is like as calculator which can give you answers to questions like “What was the length of the longest whale discovered in the pacific ocean between the years 1900 and 1990”. It doesn’t come with preprogrammed questions; considering the scope of the questions it aims to answer, that would be almost impossible. Instead, the developers have actually generated models of the kind of factual questions that it may be asked, and broken them down into units that can be computed.

Before you start think of SkyNet in Terminator, or worrying if it will create human like clones of itself like the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica; know that the system is smart perhaps, but not intelligent. It doesn’t have a sense of self, but it can interpret data in a similar way as humans, which is what enables it to understand and calculate answers to questions. It understands the data, but doesn’t have any opinions about it.

For those who haven’t heard of Wolfram, he is also the creator of the popular Mathematica software, which is one of the most powerful symbolic mathematics software around. It is capable of doing complex mathematical calculations such as finding the value of pi or e till 100,000 digits in a matter of seconds! Or finding the integral of almost any equation you can come up with. Infact they have a free web service for finding the integrals of equations at His experience is thus well applied in this project.

The potential of this system is limitless, but it itself is not. It doesn’t not plan to give answers that may have multiple opinions, just for facts so don’t expect it to answer question on anything like “Should I marry my boyfriend who has been with me for the last three years, but we broke up for like 3 months in the middle, and he didn’t even call once! Well actually he did, but I wasn’t there, but he didn’t call again! So should I? ”. This means the system has less chance of being biased, i.e. having answered based on the opinions of the people who are entering the data.  This also means that it can only supplement google, not replace it. It may never be able to rule the world, but I’m pretty sure it will rule the web!

Source:, Wolfram Blog


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