Ask the Brain The World's First Computer-Generated Encyclopedia Computer Generated Encyclopaedia

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 Press Release

Luke Metcalfe
Rapid Intelligence Pty Ltd
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11:45AM AEST Wednesday 9th April, 2003. Sydney Australia

World's first computer-generated encyclopedia - - launched online today.

For the first time in history, computers have been left solely in charge of building a massive encyclopedia. The result is a highly entertaining, if not entirely accurate, database covering over 200,000 topics. Sydney-based artificial intelligence company, Rapid Intelligence is the culprit.

It's hardly the cut-and-dry data you might expect from a computer program. Manager, Luke Metcalfe, explains, "We didn't want to make one of these tools that just regurgitates factual information it's found somewhere. More interesting for us was the kind of "artificial intelligence" you see on sites on Amazon and Google. We wanted to take that kind of lateral thinking a few steps further. So we let the system run loose and draw inferences for the purpose of satire."

The profiles generated on the site range from the amusing to the insightful to the downright impolite. Sometimes it's correct - Russia's religion is correctly picked as Eastern Orthodox ( Some are the obvious choice - NASA's favourite destination is the moon ( Being Russian, Vladimir Putin's favourite game could indeed be chess (

But then, AskTheBrain can get quite adventurous with its assumptions. Al Jazeera most admires Osama Bin Laden who, it reveals, likes to wear a burqa AOL Time Warner's worst habit, it declares, is "wasting money" ( For reasons unknown to any human (including the developer), Bill Gates's intelligence level is rated as "Stupid" (

The site also has a 50-strong panel of unlikely fictitious "experts" including a kindergarten student and a backyard pool drainer. Each provides their own egocentric perspective on the topic at hand.

"We believe that artificial intelligence is hugely under-utilised in the field of comedy content generation. Rapid Intelligence's mission is to redress that imbalance," says Metcalfe. "Watch this space."

The entire database is made available free of charge from the website -

More information can be found at

About Rapid Intelligence

Rapid Intelligence is a Sydney-based online publishing firm, dedicated to entertainment applications of artificial intelligence, computational linguistics and web technologies. It was established in early 2002 and has applied for an international patent in the area. Its first publication, utilises information collected from all over the web with its custom-built search engine and draws inferences on the data.

In addition to AskTheBrain, Rapid Intelligence also publishes, the world’s largest statistical database for comparing countries on the web. To read reviews of, visit the reviews page, or click on a link below:

Nielsen//NetRatings names NationMaster in its Top 10 Fastest Growing Educational Reference Sites.
Note: this is a PDF file. If you do not have a PDF Reader, please click here for a free download.

Harvard Business School’s review of NationMaster.

One of’s Best & Coolest Sites Around. names NationMaster the 60th Best Science Site on the Net.

About Luke Metcalfe

Luke Metcalfe is a 26 year old with over 9 years experience in web development and intelligent tools. He describes himself as a "programmer/comedian". He sums it up thus: "I make my living from writing code and telling jokes. But mostly, I like to write code that tells jokes. It's a unique feeling as a developer to generate content that makes people laugh, and for that to actually be a good thing."

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