Stephen Wolfram Q&A

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Some collected questions and answers by Stephen Wolfram

Questions may be edited for brevity; see links for full questions.

February 6, 1998

From: Interview by David Stork, Hal's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality

Have you yourself worked much on the problem of building intelligent machines?

Well, since you ask, I’ll tell you the answer is yes. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it in public before. But since you asked the right question: yes, I have been interested in the problem for a very long time—probably 20 years now—and have been steadily picking away at it. I’ve been held back by a lack of tools: both practical and conceptual. But that’s finally getting sorted out. I have Mathematica from the practical side to let me do experiments easily. And I have my new science, from which I think I’ve figured out some of the basic intuition that’s needed. And I even have my company—headquartered in Champaign-Urbana, birthplace of HAL, as chance would have it—that can potentially support my efforts. But I guess I’ll have to disappoint you: we won’t be announcing a machine that thinks in 1997. It’ll just be Mathematica Version X and A New Kind of Science from me. But wait for another year, though. Perhaps 2001…

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