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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Wolfram Alpha is 10!

I was an early tester, loved it.   An assistant that emphasized the computable!  Free and amazing.  How great to see things as computable.   But somehow I drifted off to others.   You know the other glitzy assistants, often mentioned here.     And those I can ask computable things like:  how many ounces in a deciliter?... but that's not very fun or meaningful.

I saw WA as a semantic DB that could be made to answer questions like:  Calculate X using Y in region Z while also showing me the risk profile.  With our data and public data.  With the usual metadata.   Systematic data we use all the time.   But it was harder to set it up to do that kind of thing than I thought,  nobody bought.

 I was careful to include Wolfram/Alpha in my known assistant list, but rarely visited.  Few had head of it.   But now this considerable article about where Wolfram/Alpha is today and where it may be going.  But Have not read it yet, but about to.  I am back, WA are you listening, want to talk?

You can try Wolfram/Alpha here.

The Wolfram|Alpha Story  From the WolframBlog.

Today it’s 10 years since we launched Wolfram|Alpha. At some level, Wolfram|Alpha is a never-ending project. But it’s had a great first 10 years. It was a unique and surprising achievement when it first arrived, and over its first decade it’s become ever stronger and more unique. It’s found its way into more and more of the fabric of the computational world, both realizing some of the long-term aspirations of artificial intelligence, and defining new directions for what one can expect to be possible. Oh, and by now, a significant fraction of a billion people have used it. And we’ve been able to keep it private and independent, and its main website has stayed free and without external advertising.

For me personally, the vision that became Wolfram|Alpha has a very long history. I first imagined creating something like it more than 47 years ago, when I was about 12 years old. Over the years, I built some powerful tools—most importantly the core of what’s now Wolfram Language. But it was only after some discoveries I made in basic science in the 1990s that I felt emboldened to actually try building what’s now Wolfram|Alpha.

It was—and still is—a daunting project. To take all areas of systematic knowledge and make them computable. To make it so that any question that can in principle be answered from knowledge accumulated by our civilization can actually be answered, immediately and automatically. .... "

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