If you use Google’s new Photos app, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Skype’s new translation function, you’re using a form of AI on a daily basis. AI was first dreamed up in the 1950s, but has only recently become a practical reality — all thanks to software systems called neural networks. This is how they work.
The Guardian has a great article about Wolfram Alpha and Stephen Wolfram, the genius behind it. Turns out, his dream was never to kill Google (back in '93, Sergey Brin worked for Wolfram!) but rather try to create the science fiction people once dreamt of (think HAL).
The first problem with the Wolfram Alpha iPhone app was that it cost $50. The second problem was that the site's iPhone web interface was nearly as good as the app, and it was free. Guess which issue Wolfram "fixed!"
Get ready, because the world as we know it is going to change in May 2009, when Wolfram Alpha—a computational search engine that belongs in the Enterprise's computer—appears, giving you precise answers to everything.