Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wolfram Alpha you aren't off to a very good start

I am a big fan of new tech. And I know that new stuff often has bugs that need to be worked out. But when I hit Wolfram Alpha, the new computational search engine last week for the first time, I was disappointed. Yes, it's an ongoing project, and needs others to contribute, but this? Floored me.

This is a screen capture of the word, "autism" in the search window, and the results found. (first I put in autism rates world and it came up with nothing) You can click on the image to enlarge, but the text is as follows:

(n) autism ((psychiatry) an abnormal absorption with the self; marked by communication disorders and short attention span and inability to treat others as people

With 1 in 150 kids dealing with autism, and the fact that you can throw a rock in tech communities and hit someone who either has a kid with autism or knows a kid with autism? THIS result? Is unacceptable. What, are we in the 18th century?

Next thing you know, it will be all about the refrigerator mothers again! Yes autism was once thought of as a psychiatric disorder, not a medical one. It was the mother's fault, she just didn't show her children enough love and compassion...she was cold. This is the old, outmoded thinking that was thrown out decades ago. Autism is classified as a neurological disorder and a developmental delay. It has nothing whatsoever to do with parenting. I? Am a kick-ass parent. You can ask my friends. You can ask my kids. It clearly wasn't anything we did. It. just. is. Time to stop blaming the parents.

Want to let Wolfram know that this kind of search result and definition is abhorrent in the 21st century? Send feedback.

While you're at it, send email to Princeton as well. It would seem that is where this ridiculous definition of autism originated.

T, who was dumb-founded and will stick to Google

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2 sent chocolate:

blar said...

it's in some dictionary somewhere

Tony Letts said...

I used to teach autistic children with severe learning difficulties. One 'insight' I was given to better understand them was that when they scan the room, they don't rate people as any more important than objects - whereas we would home in on people instinctively. In my experience, they were not especially 'absorbed with self'. The idea that it is related to parenting is ludicrous.

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