But what about all the actual knowledge that we as humans have accumulated?What does it actually mean? TechCrunch breakes it down:
A lot of it is now on the web—in billions of pages of text. And with search engines, we can very efficiently search for specific terms and phrases in that text.
But we can’t compute from that. And in effect, we can only answer questions that have been literally asked before. We can look things up, but we can’t figure anything new out.
It’s going to be a website: www.wolframalpha.com. With one simple input field that gives access to a huge system, with trillions of pieces of curated data and millions of lines of algorithms.
It doesn’t simply return documents that (might) contain the answers, like Google does, and it isn’t just a giant database of knowledge, like the Wikipedia. It doesn’t simply parse natural language and then use that to retrieve documents, like Powerset, for example. Instead, Wolfram Alpha actually computes the answers to a wide range of questions — like questions that have factual answers such as “What country is Timbuktu in?” or “How many protons are in a hydrogen atom?” or “What is the average rainfall in Seattle?”True Knowledge, launched in 2007, uses similar technology. Powerset, yet another competitor, was aquired by Microsoft in 2008 but has yet to live up to its promise.
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