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majamin's avatar

How will Wolfram Alpha compare to Fluther? Will it relegate or trim the potential of Fluther?

Asked by majamin (99points) April 20th, 2009

See details about Wolfram Alpha here and here, if you have not heard of it.

I had a ramble ready to go, but I dropped it at the last minute before I posted. I’m going to leave it up to you to make up your mind first. Happy Fluthering.

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20 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

1) anything with the word “wolfram” frightens me.
2) nothing beats a real person.
3) i don’t really see the competition.

augustlan's avatar

It sounds like an interesting (and complicated!) concept, but since a big part of Fluther’s appeal is dealing with real people I don’t see it as direct competition.

hug_of_war's avatar

I’m of too low intelligence to comprehend the idea.

upholstry's avatar

I intend to abandon fluther at the soonest possible opportunity

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I’d say it all depends on how his creation lives up to his own hype. After what happened with A New Kind of Science, I’d take whatever he says with quite a bit of salt.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@phoenyx As they say on ESPN: “Instant Classic!”

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@majamin All the same, it’s interesting to hear about what he’s up to. Thanks. :)

qashqai's avatar

From what I have understood, we are talking about two completely different things. I believe human touch will always give Fluther something more than a cold know-it-all robot.

YARNLADY's avatar

It sounds like a high school/college text book to me. The kind of questions I see it answering would be far more limited than we have here. Most of the fluther questions are about people and their ideas, not strictly facts or things.

bythebay's avatar

@upholstry: What’s stopping you?

bythebay's avatar

If you search the archives, many of the most interesting and thought provoking Q’s here on Fluther are not “real” questions; i.e., those with a single factual answer; hence the reason people often get a gentle nudge toward Google.

Questions that are biased based on personal opinions, questions that are based on feelings as opposed to facts, and questions that are seeking comparisons and analysis would not be appropriate for a site such as Wolfram Alpha.

IMHO, it appears to me that it will be an engine one step better than Google in that it will provide the answer as opposed to giving you directions to find it. I can’t see how it would be considered competitive with a site like Fluther in any way.

cwilbur's avatar

It’s yet another instance of an expert system, an idea that goes back to the 1960s. I’m not holding my breath.

adreamofautumn's avatar

@upholstry is that a promise?

I think that it might work really well with fluther actually. I think when people ask really stupid questions we’ll now have options instead of just “GOOGLE IT!” we can also point out that “Wolfram Alpha is your friend”. Sweet.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

ditto to @hug_of_war .
also, the name sounds scary! ‘wolfram’ carries the connotation of ‘wolfman’ to me because it’s the closest word i could associate it to. and then the ‘alpha’...that’s pretty intense.
i’m sure it’ll be an interesting website, but i don’t think fluther will have any changes because of it.

majamin's avatar

@adreamofautumn I agree with you… we will have options as a result. Thank you to all responses. I essentially wanted to get a sense of how people use and think they use Fluther, and what it means to them. Wolfram Alpha will not replace what Fluther is… my motivation for the question was Fluther’s catch phrase at the top of the page: “everybody is an expert at something” ... since we don’t exactly know what Alpha will offer (how deep the complexity of the knowledge base is), it will be hard to tell which “expert” knowledge at Fluther will be covered by Alpha.

I think there is something valuable in receiving expert knowledge through human interaction… there is almost a built-in “grain-of-salt”, creativity process that occurs that will certainly not be a part of Alpha, that is an attractive quality of Fluther.

I’ve always found it interesting that questions such as “What is the average annual rainfall in Seattle?” are uncommon on Fluther… and these are the type of questions that Alpha will (apparently) answer. So, what is the scope of the expert knowledge that Fluther encourages? Is it philosophical? Or…?

I guess the answer to these questions… are implicitly answered by our discussion here…

YARNLADY's avatar

@tiffyandthewall @hug_of_war surely you can’t hold it against a man just because his last name is Wolfram? That doesn’t make sense. Try reading it this way Wol fram. Does that help?

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Incidentally, wolfram is what the element tungsten is called in a number of languages and is why its symbol is W.

YARNLADY's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop I did not know that. thank you for the info

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