Stephen Wolfram, post-boy-genius egomaniac and author of the book that received the best bad review ever, is making a search engine. Except it’s not a “search” engine exactly, because it doesn’t look for websites that have the answer to your question on them, it figures out the answer to your question.
How? If the descriptions of the engine I’ve read are accurate, and they can’t be, it essentially runs a model of the world, constructed of all the theoretical constructs which Wolfram an co. have been able to represent in some kind of Mathematica-based ur-language and a massive pile of curated raw data on everything. So I suppose if you ask it “how long would it take for me to fall from 30 000 feet”, it determines semantically that you are asking a question about gravitic physics, calculates distances, speeds, resistances, and masses, and tells you a number. And if you ask it, “will it hurt?”, it fires up it’s nueron-emergent model of the brain and says, “yes”.
Or something. I don’t know. Look, it’s possible Wolfram really is a genius and not just a strong technician, and consequently could be building a revolutionary
search engine which commensurates knowledge from diverse conceptual domains into a meaningfully live intelligence grower. I’m certainly curious to find out.
Yesterday there was 2 hour webcast demoing the engine. I’m not curious enough to watch it. But they’re promising it will go public in May. What questions do you have?