The remarkable (and prolific) Stephen Wolfram has an idea called Wolfram Alpha. People used to assume the “Star Trek” model of computers:
that one would be able to ask a computer any factual question, and have it compute the answer.
Which has proved to be quite distant from reality. Instead
But armed with Mathematica and NKS [A New Kind of Science] I realized thereâ€™s another way: explicitly implement methods and models, as algorithms, and explicitly curate all data so that it is immediately computable.
Itâ€™s not easy to do this. Every different kind of method and modelâ€”and dataâ€”has its own special features and character. But with a mixture of Mathematica and NKS automation, and a lot of human experts, Iâ€™m happy to say that weâ€™ve gotten a very long way.
I’m still a SearchMonkey guy at heart, so I wonder how much Wofram’s team is familiar with existing Semantic Web research and practice–because at a high level this seems very much like RDF with suitable queries thereupon. If that’s a good characterization, that’s A Good Thing, since practical application has been one of SemWeb’s weak spots.