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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Superheroes? In New York? Give me a break!"
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May 04 2009

Wolfram Alpha to Challenge Google? Looks like two of Joss's evil inventions are teaming up to take over the real world.

This might get deleted as not directly related, but too weird of a coincidence not to post.

Oh hey, it's Skynet!
"Wolfram Alpha has been designed with professionals and academics in mind, so its grasp of popular culture is, at the moment, comparatively poor. The term '50 Cent' caused 'absolute horror' "

That part was funny, but the rest was kind of scary. Joss has made me really paranoid about this stuff, not that I wouldn't be anyway.
All they need now is, say, for their logo to be a horse silhouetted in front of a blue sun...
considering I just saw Caprica today, which seems to posit that , yep, scary. So of course this was the site Alpha would be messing with last friday. I'm still trying to get over Joss pulling off Earshot before Columbine and filming a collapsing tower as the climax of the season six opener prior to 9/11.
Actually, this does directly relate in a weird way. If you watched the video posted yesterday about the easter eggs on the new Dollhouse episode- the code goes back to the Wolfram site and specifically talks about the new Alpha program. Too funny!
holy crap taaroko, it IS skynet
I don't know it if that is the scariest thing I have ever heard or the freaking awesomest...funny how often those two go hand in hand...
Oh hey, it's Skynet!

If you ask Stephen Wolfram, yeah, it probably is. The man has never been all that modest :-P I see it as ginormous hype. So far, nothing (including the Wolfram Alpha blog's "interesting queries") really seems to indicate that it's anything other than a glorified query term substitution, a la typing:

"the answer to life the universe and everything multiplied by three gallons"

... into Google. Plus (supposedly, because no-one except journalists seem to bring that up) a dash of the current state of "Natural Language Processing" -- which in any case means "faking. A lot". :-)

The scary thing to me mainly is that now we have a group of experts(?) opaquely deciding what the rest of the world should know. Which probably works OK for math and science, like it always did. Anything else, not so much. I think there's a reason Yahoo lost its relevance.

I can just see Spike walking up to Angel, hiding behind his desk: "You're working for a bloody search engine!" :-)

[ edited by Kaneda on 2009-05-04 07:11 ]
That really is kind of frightening but kind of cool at the same time...
@Kaneda Yes exactly! My first thought was along the same lines. Reducing thousands of perspectives to a single curated one is not an advancement. It's like going back to the pre-Gutenberg days when knowledge was controlled by the church.
Oh Noes! Them experts at it again thinking they actually know stuff ;)

No one is forcing anyone to use this encyclopedia. And if you decide to use it, and canít be bothered to verify the numbers, itíll give you references to the source data. I completely fail to see a problem here.

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