Fifty years ago, when computers were young, people assumed that they’d quickly be able to handle all these kinds of things.
And that one would be able to ask a computer any factual question, and have it compute the answer.
But it didn’t work out that way. Computers have been able to do many remarkable and unexpected things. But not that.
I’d always thought, though, that eventually it should be possible. And a few years ago, I realized that I was finally in a position to try to do it.
I had two crucial ingredients: Mathematica and NKS. With Mathematica, I had a symbolic language to represent anything—as well as the algorithmic power to do any kind of computation. And with NKS, I had a paradigm for understanding how all sorts of complexity could arise from simple rules.