Wolfram Alpha's work on a natural language programming system for "making the world computable" promises very big things indeed. Exciting stuff. I'm a fan of Wolfram Alpha already, having used Mathematica many years ago, and familiar with their "computation engine" online (and, indeed, used by Siri for a bunch of things).
One of the first phrases that came to my mind when I first read Wolfram’s tease — “something very big is coming” — was sentient code. That’s simply due to the level of automation and intelligence that the Wolfram language is starting to encompass, and that fact that the engine treats data and code in similar ways.
I questioned Wolfram on that.
“What we’re trying to do is that the programmer defines the goal, and the computer figures out how to achieve that goal,” he said. That’s different than telling the computer to go figure out something new that’s interesting – that’s a diffferent challenge — but I’m interested in that too.”