When a free Web service called WolframAlpha launches in the coming days, the public will get to try a "computational knowledge engine" that has had technology insiders buzzing because of its oracle-like ability to spit out answers and make calculations. WolframAlpha will answer questions without making you comb through links as a search engine would. Yet after testing the service for a few weeks, I think WolframAlpha is unlikely to become a household name. While WolframAlpha is brilliant at times and elegant in its display, there aren't many ways everyday Web users would benefit from using it over other resources.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I'm troubled by the potential for WolframAlpha. I fear the implications of an information butler that is considered so smart and so widely applicable that people turn to it without question, by default, whenever they want to know something.
From The Associated Press
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