I was a bit … weird … as a teenager. As part of an Air Force family we moved frequently, and like most teenagers trying to distinguish themselves from their peers, I tried to use my strengths – an active intellect and an ease at working with abstractions – as a way of establishing myself in the new schools I constantly found myself in. I was the “smart kid”, the one who took to carrying around large books with titles such as “Principia Mathematica” by Bertrand Russell and Whitehead Alfred North in order to impress people with my intelligence (okay, so perhaps my social intelligence was not quite as well developed at that stage).


Stephen Wolfram generously gave me a two-hour demo of Wolfram Alpha last evening, and I was quite positively impressed.  As he said, it’s not AI, and not aiming to be, so it shouldn’t be measured by contrasting it with HAL or Cyc but with Google or Yahoo.