Search revolution(?) and Pert Plus campaign
To take all of the world’s data and make it immediately computable: an incredibly bold and ambitious goal for a software program. But this is exactly what Wolfram Alpha plans on doing.
The system, invented by scientist Stephen Wolfram, aims to compute answers to specific questions. In doing so it wants to create a system which does for quantifiable information and data what search engines have done for qualitative, or ‘informal’ knowledge, such as texts and documents. All a user needs to do is ask the program a question in everyday language, such as “what’s the GDP of France?” or “how many internet users are there in Europe?” The data is then represented in precise visual formats.
Comparing it to an existing search engine such as Google, which retrieves documents based on keyword searches, Wolfram Alpha aims to act smarter by actually thinking for the user. It claims it can understand the question and will then compute the answer.
Just how the system works based on its in-built models of knowledge fields remains unclear, and whether it will actually launch to any success remains to be seen, but on the surface – and if possible – this would be a hugely significant breakthrough.