A New Kind of Search

No matter the merits of the announcement, the argument is sufficiently interesting to be re-stated. Stephan Wolfram of Mathematica fame has just announced another contender to how we organize human knowledge. His approach is based on his thinking in A New Kind of Knowledge (2002) and Mathematica.He argues:

(a) all/most knowledge today is digitally available, however, we are not able to question and do stuff with it [compute it].
(b) there is hope that by semantically tagging it, this could be achieved. Stephan Wolfram does not believe so [think anything from delic.io.us to twitter].

(c) A new kind of science reminds us that instead of reverse engineering our theories from observation, we should simply enumerate systems and then try to match them to the behaviors we observe [build the world from simple automata].

(d) This means we can model the data relationships that we have available to create knowledge.

(e) However, data is not data, therefore, it is necessary to curate the data [have experts decide on what matters].

(f) Assuming this works, we have created an intelligent system, but how do we interact with it?

(g) Humans use natural languages, so we would need to get the system to answer “real questions.”

Clearly, an amazing project – we will see in May how well it does on all seven points. And there is more than just epistemology involved, this is about political theory too… :) Let us see how google responds..

About Philipp

Philipp Müller works in the IT industry and is academic dean of the SMBS. Author of “Machiavelli.net”. Proud father of three amazing children. The views expressed in this blog are his own.

10. March 2009 by Philipp
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