Wolfram Language gets shown off and I already want it bolted behind Siri!

Wolfram Language is what powers the computational software suite Mathmatica and the computational knowledge service Wolfram|Alpha. All three are the brain children of Stephen Wolfram who, in the above video, shows off just what that engine looks like for the first time. And it's amazing. Like Star Trek computer amazing.

It's also got the beginnings of a natural language interface, which means I already want to be able to use Siri to talk to it, the way Scotty talked to the Enterprise. I want to be able to pick up my iPhone or iPad and, as easily as I query Wolfram|Alpha today, be able to use voice driven sequential inference with symbolic computation tomorrow.

It's a long video and mostly a tease, but as you pass the 75% mark and start seeing how it all ties into mobile, well, no more spoilers.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Wolfram Language gets shown off and I already want it bolted behind Siri!


I'm blown away!! This could be Apple's largest, and most valuable acquisition since NeXT. Putting this not only behind Siri, but behind iOS (and maybe eventually OS X) could be the reintroduction of the Mac. The reintroduction of the iPhone. And the reintroduction of iPad. Is Wolfram willing to sell 30 years of hard work? Is Apple willing to buy it? Do you think something like this is a likely Apple acquisition or partnership, Rene?

What's the over/under on how quickly this company gets bought up? Also, wouldn't you would feel foolish right now if your company picked up a chat app for $19 Billion instead of this? Yes, Mark Zuckerberg, I'm looking at you.

There has to be a measure of ironic poignancy on humanity going to such lengths to mimic human-to-human interaction. I know most scientific breakthroughs are to be commended, but still, why not, you know, talk to the girl/guy next to you?. Why do I need to pretend my Phone/PC/Car/Tablet/Coffee Maker/iWhatever has a personality? are we tech people really that lonely?

What if the guy next to me has no idea on whether or not it's going to rain today, or what is the score of my favorite team?

The purpose of artificial intelligence is not o pretend our machines are human, and have feelings - although, admittedly, it is fascinating to see human emotions reproduced in technology. The driving justification for AI is the ability to get information as from it as easily, and as quickly as possible. Now, what easier way is their other than to ask verbally, just as we would with a person?

Personality is really only used to aid with user adoption. A device using inferential language isn't quite as creepy when it has a personality. Outside of the movie Her, it'll never have feelings. That's just not practical when you're really just after an advanced search engine.

But the idea is to be able to talk to your device just as you would the guy next to you, except if the guy next to you knew everything about anything ever, and could present it to you in a way that is the most useful to your current situation.

I really don't like that the mathematics does harm to students as it doesn't follow the order of operations that all mathematicians worldwide follow.

Amazing. I can imagine Wolfram Language as the basis of an operating system for spaceships like HAL :)

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Let's hope someone hires Scarlet Johannson to be the voice of these things.

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