Watson

Recently on Internet Revolution, Todd Watson of IBM shared his thoughts on the future of cognitive computing. He writes, “Late this morning, I attended an IBM People for a Smarter Planet Tweetchat concerning the promise and future of cognitive computing. Simply put, cognitive computing systems represent the next frontier of computing, the first two waves having centered upon, first, tabulation, and more recently, programmable systems. With cognitive computing, we’ve begun to see systems that learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machines could do on their own. In so doing, they can help human experts make better decisions by tapping into the vast complexities of big data.”

He continues, “Take Watson, for example, the first cognitive system which IBM debuted in a televised Jeopardy! challenge where Watson bested the show’s two greatest champions in early 2011. Watson’s challenge was seemingly simple, yet belied the great complexity going on under the covers. To win, it had to answer questions posed in every nuance of natural language — puns, synonyms, homonyms, slang, and jargon — by tapping into a reservoir of data accumulated over years, a massive set of unstructured knowledge.”

He adds, “Using machine learning, statistical analysis, and natural language processing, Watson was designed to find and understand the clues in the Jeopardy! questions, compare the possible answers, then rank its confidence in their accuracy and respond — typically in three seconds or less… But as I’ve written in this blog over the past year or so, newer generations of Watson are now being trained in oncology diagnosis for healthcare professionals, and in customer service as a support representative. IBM Research continues to push the boundaries of Watson by developing new interfaces that will allow humans and computers to interact more naturally.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy IBM