Saturday, May 30, 2009

All the World's Knowledge

At first sight Wolfram/Alpha is a type of database and search service akin to GOOGLE SEARCH. But Wolfram states (in an e-mail), "The launch of Wolfram|Alpha is just the beginning of our endeavor to make all of the world's systematic knowledge immediately computable...." Is this hype? More than hype? Is all [systematic] knowledge "in principle" computable? In the short or medium run? Does "all the world's [systematic] knowledge" include your knowledge that your Aunt Betty wanted to go to the supermarket last Wednesday but didn't make it because she forgot? Does it include some long-dead person's knowledge of what Alexander the Great said as he lay dying? Does it include knowledge of what was in John Wilkes Booth's heart as he shot Lincoln? Is inferred knowledge knowledge? If so, will all trials someday be conducted on Wolfram/Alpha? Probability theorists have done a pretty good job (in the academy) of monopolizing "probability." Are you prepared to let Wolfram or Google do the same to "knowledge"?

This and this too are a couple of newspaper articles about Wolfram/Alpha that Wolfram thinks are quite nifty.

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The dynamic evidence page

Coming soon: the law of evidence on Spindle Law

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