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.

August 31, 2009

From: Interview by Kaustubh Katdare, CrazyEngineers

How do you think dependence on computers will affect us in the future?

Throughout human history, progress has tended to be about automating more and more things, so we as humans don’t have to do them ourselves. Computers are an important new step in this direction. So far we’ve only seen the very beginning of what they’ll let us do. Broad access to computable knowledge is going to be pretty important. But ultimately I think what’s going to be most important is the new kind of technology we can get by “mining” the computational universe. Right now when we create technology, we do it by building it up step-by-step as human engineers. But what NKS shows us is that we can just go out into the universe of simple programs, and search for ones that achieve our technological purposes. We now do this a lot in building Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha. But it’s going to become ubiquitous. And it’s going to lead to all sorts of technology that we as humans can’t imagine.

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