View Poll Results: What do you think this will mean for the future?
- 24. This poll is closed
Will help people get answers easier and be good for society
Will provide yet another reason for people not to think for themselves
Probably won't work properly anyway
General Chat Thread, Search Engines getting ready to answer questions directly - Good or Bad? in General; Computer scientist, Stephen Wolfram, feels that he has put together at least the initial version of a computer that actually ...
9th March 2009, 04:57 AM #1
Search Engines getting ready to answer questions directly - Good or Bad?
This technology could totally change the way most people search for information, you would no longer need to search through multiple possibly related webpages to find the actual answer. The answer would simply be presented to you by the engine. Whether this is a good thing or simply another crutch that people will use instead of thinking for them selves is up for debate but it certainly looks interesting.
Computer scientist, Stephen Wolfram, feels that he has put together at least the initial version of a computer that actually answers factual questions, a la Star Trek’s ship computers. His version will be found on their Web-based application, Wolfram Alpha
What does this mean? Well instead of returning links to pages that may (or may not) contain the answer to your questions, Wolfram will respond with the actual answer. Now the caveat ‘factual’ is important. You can ask it questions like ‘why is the sky blue?’ or ‘how many bones are in the human body?’, but probably not ‘do you think abortion is wrong?’. This computational knowledge engine uses natural language to parse the questions and can also accept coded queries.
Last edited by SYNACK; 9th March 2009 at 05:02 AM.
9th March 2009, 09:33 AM #2
Makes pub quiz cheating even easier!
9th March 2009, 09:55 AM #3
9th March 2009, 10:06 AM #4
Google already do this in a way with their Google SMS service. You can ask it things like the population of Spain and it will come back with the answer. Obviously it's only an approximation... Google's not that good.. yet!
9th March 2009, 10:26 AM #5
Nice. It may be a bit limited if they stick to an encyclopedia style database though. They need to ensure it includes things like train times, and other services. So if someone types 'when is the first bus from Minehead to Taunton?' it will give an answer taken from the First Bus site. Otherwise, it is, to be honest, limited in use.
9th March 2009, 03:11 PM #6
If its something obscure or disputed, how could you trust what it came back with? Id rather look at the sources myself I think
9th March 2009, 03:32 PM #7
That company name always makes me smile; what if I want to know the time of the last bus to see if I can get home from the pub? Do I need the last bus site :-)
Originally Posted by localzuk
9th March 2009, 04:02 PM #8
I think it would need to provide a link also to the full data such as 'find out more'.
Originally Posted by sidewinder
9th March 2009, 04:18 PM #9
I don't really see this has anything revolutionary if I am honest. It's only useful for factual information as the example it gives is open to personal opinion. Some people think it's wrong and other people think it's right. I actually enjoy reading and researching on the web
9th March 2009, 04:48 PM #10
In theory its great, bringing lots of information to you quickly. But will it work in reality, suppose its only as clever as the original information and the way it finds and catagorises it.
9th March 2009, 05:06 PM #11
In a recent epiosode of Numb3rs, the DARPA had developed an AI that could pass the turing(sp) test, but all it actually was was a big googlebot that looked up the correct response to whatever question it was asked...
9th March 2009, 06:28 PM #12
Hmm. Project for over summer, then: rig up the computer in the media suite (which is connected to some nice speakers and a projector) to some voice-recognition software and a decent microphone, then have it direct all queries that start with "Computer..." to Wolfram's site. Also have "on screen" mean "answer Skype" and you've pretty much covered every function except being able to fire missiles at things. Will have to work on that bit.
Computer scientist, Stephen Wolfram, feels that he has put together at least the initial version of a computer that actually answers factual questions, a la Star Trek’s ship computers.
9th March 2009, 06:31 PM #13
There would have to be a lot more to it than that. Natural language responses are key.
Originally Posted by RabbieBurns
9th March 2009, 08:00 PM #14
Won't it make idiots even more convinced they're right because the Internet told them so?
Great for "what is a cat?" type questions, though confusion of catalytic converters, felines and meercats is possible.
Rubbish for "what's the best way to do $foo?" because 90% of the time, the answer is something along the lines of "it depends".
9th March 2009, 09:13 PM #15
Yes, but this is Stephen Wolfram we're talking about here, not some random marketing executive with no clue as to what computers are actually capable of - it should be interesting to see exactly what new innovation the search engine has actually come up with. I have a sneaky suspicion the engine might need some "training" consisting of a large number of asked questions before it starts returning reasonably coherent results, mind.
Originally Posted by pete
Last Post: 6th March 2014, 03:00 PM
By krisd32 in forum Windows
Last Post: 3rd December 2008, 12:41 PM
By gaz350 in forum How do you do....it?
Last Post: 12th December 2007, 03:16 PM
By adamyoung in forum Windows
Last Post: 5th April 2006, 03:21 PM
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
Tags for this Thread