View Poll Results: What do you think this will mean for the future?

Voters
24. This poll is closed
  • Will help people get answers easier and be good for society

    4 16.67%
  • Will provide yet another reason for people not to think for themselves

    10 41.67%
  • Probably won't work properly anyway

    10 41.67%
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
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 ...
  1. #1

    SYNACK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    11,224
    Thank Post
    874
    Thanked 2,717 Times in 2,302 Posts
    Blog Entries
    11
    Rep Power
    780

    Lightbulb Search Engines getting ready to answer questions directly - Good or Bad?

    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.
    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.

    http://www.gizmosforgeeks.com/2009/0...ers-questions/
    Last edited by SYNACK; 9th March 2009 at 04:02 AM.

  2. #2

    Ric_'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    7,600
    Thank Post
    109
    Thanked 769 Times in 598 Posts
    Rep Power
    181
    Makes pub quiz cheating even easier!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    998
    Thank Post
    132
    Thanked 58 Times in 51 Posts
    Rep Power
    24

  4. #4
    sahmeepee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Greater Manchester
    Posts
    795
    Thank Post
    20
    Thanked 70 Times in 42 Posts
    Rep Power
    34
    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!

  5. #5

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,836
    Thank Post
    517
    Thanked 2,476 Times in 1,919 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    836
    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.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2,962
    Thank Post
    159
    Thanked 152 Times in 116 Posts
    Rep Power
    49
    If its something obscure or disputed, how could you trust what it came back with? Id rather look at the sources myself I think

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3,156
    Thank Post
    116
    Thanked 529 Times in 452 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    124
    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    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.
    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 :-)

  8. #8

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,836
    Thank Post
    517
    Thanked 2,476 Times in 1,919 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    836
    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder View Post
    If its something obscure or disputed, how could you trust what it came back with? Id rather look at the sources myself I think
    I think it would need to provide a link also to the full data such as 'find out more'.

  9. #9

    Michael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    9,262
    Thank Post
    242
    Thanked 1,572 Times in 1,252 Posts
    Rep Power
    340
    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

  10. #10

    CHR1S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    4,505
    Thank Post
    1,585
    Thanked 486 Times in 304 Posts
    Rep Power
    217
    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.

  11. #11

    RabbieBurns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    5,527
    Thank Post
    1,339
    Thanked 470 Times in 307 Posts
    Blog Entries
    6
    Rep Power
    199
    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...

  12. #12

    dhicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Knightsbridge
    Posts
    5,653
    Thank Post
    1,257
    Thanked 781 Times in 678 Posts
    Rep Power
    236
    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.
    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.

    --
    David Hicks

  13. #13

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,836
    Thank Post
    517
    Thanked 2,476 Times in 1,919 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    836
    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    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...
    There would have to be a lot more to it than that. Natural language responses are key.

  14. #14


    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the server room, with the lead pipe.
    Posts
    4,649
    Thank Post
    275
    Thanked 780 Times in 607 Posts
    Rep Power
    224
    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".

  15. #15

    dhicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Knightsbridge
    Posts
    5,653
    Thank Post
    1,257
    Thanked 781 Times in 678 Posts
    Rep Power
    236
    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    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".
    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.

    --
    David Hicks

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 6th March 2014, 02:00 PM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 3rd December 2008, 11:41 AM
  3. filtering problematic search engines
    By gaz350 in forum How do you do....it?
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12th December 2007, 02:16 PM
  4. EMBC Search Engines
    By adamyoung in forum Windows
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 5th April 2006, 02:21 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •