Wolfram Alpha not for average joe

There is lots of rage currently about Wolfram’s new Venture Wolfram Alpha. A lot about it can be learned from this article on Techcrunch. I wanted to add a few thoughts though.

First of all, how can 100 people working on a knowledge engine go undetected for years??!?!? Then again, it proves again we are in a deep echo chamber and it already points us to the second thing. This is something that fits very well with Wolfram’s previous work. Mathematica is something I still remember from my Physics studies and it is an amazing tool to say the least. It’s something the scientific world has been using for ages and this is Wolfram’s world. The second step in Wolfram’s quest to leave a lasting mark in science was A new Kind of Science, for which he took a bit of time of and which he wrote during the night if I remember correctly. It’s a highly discussed book to say the least.

Now comes Wolfram Alpha (does that guy have a god complex by the way naming all his companies after himself ? ;)) and he again tries to prove, I feel, to the science world that he is the man. It is very likely that he succeeds I have to say. But what needs to be remembered is that this tool is really a science tool and not something for the guy next door. Depending on the knowledge catalogue they have added to the system you will be able to ask things like “What’s the best time to climb Mount Everest?” or “What is the best age to get married and what are other influencing factors to stay together forever?” or “What molecule structures should I emphasize for curing Aids?” (made the last one up ;)).

It will be interesting to see where this goes. Looking forward to the launch.

3 thoughts on “Wolfram Alpha not for average joe

  1. schoschie March 10, 2009 at 19:59 Reply

    I'll say he'll fail. He'll fail as a Google killer (assuming that is what he is purportedly trying to be), just as Mathematica is not a tool that's used by the masses. Google is successful because it's so simple (for the user; even if there's highly complex stuff going on in the back to make it work so well). Wolfram Alpha is trying to be clever, so it will fail as a mass service. How many people on the Internet today can't even formulate a proper sentence?

  2. othylmann March 10, 2009 at 20:03 Reply

    Absolutely agreed. That's exactly the point. It will not be a mass service.

  3. Pusat Belanja Online June 3, 2009 at 15:23 Reply

    nice blog, amazing article

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