Posts Tagged ‘cognitive computing’

IBM’s Watson Group Invests In Fluid And Its Cognitive Assistant For Online Shoppers

watsonpixnwqEarlier this year The Semantic Web Blog covered the launch of the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit to create an ecosystem around Watson Cloud-delivered cognitive apps and services. One of the partners announced at that time was Fluid Inc., which is developing a personal shopper for ecommerce that leverages Watson. Today, the Watson Group is pushing that partnership forward by drawing from the $100 million that IBM has earmarked for direct investments in cognitive apps in order to invest in Fluid and in helping deliver what it says will be “the first-ever cognitive assistant for online shoppers into the marketplace.”

At the previous event in January, Fluid CEO Kent Deverell discussed and demonstrated the Expert Personal Shopper, now known as the Fluid Expert Shopper (XPS). Still in development, it takes advantage of Watson’s ability to understand the context of consumers’ questions in natural language, draw upon what it learns from users via its interactions with them, and match that against insights uncovered from huge amounts of data around a product or category – including a brand’s product information, user reviews and online expert publications — to deliver a personalized e-commerce shopping experience via desktops, tablets and smartphones.

The first Fluid XPS prototype is being developed for customer outdoor apparel and equipment retailer, The North Face, which Deverell showcased at the previous event.

At the IBM event in January, Deverell painted a picture of the difference between the experience consumers have with a great sales person vs. traditional ecommerce. Good salespeople, he said, “are personal, proactive conversational,” whereas e-commerce is data-driven. He told the audience at the event that Fluid wants to combine the best of both worlds. “A great sales associate makes you feel good about your purchase,” he said, and he envisions Fluid XPS doing the same through natural conversation, the ability to learn about the users’ needs, “to go as deep as you need to and resurface and provide relevant recommendations.”

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Watson and the Future of Cognitive Computing

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Alex Philp recently wrote for IBM Data Magazine, “The Watson cognitive computing engine is rapidly evolving to recognize geometry and geography, enabling it to understand complex spatial relationships. As Watson combines spatial with temporal analytics and natural language processing, it is expected to derive associations and correlations among streaming data sets evolving from the Internet of Things. Once these associations and correlations occur, Watson can combine the wherewhat, and when cognitive dimensions into causal explanations about why. Putting the where into Watson represents a key evolutionary milestone into understanding cause-effect relationships and extracting meaningful insights about natural and synthetic global phenomena.” Read more

Why Cognitive Computing Needs the Semantic Web

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James Kobielus of Info World recently wrote, “Cognitive computing can’t achieve its potential without a strong semantic-processing substrate that executes across diverse content sources… Nova Spivack references IBM Watson in this regard. The cloud service’s DeepQA technology incorporates semantic approaches into its very core, balancing the use of strict and shallow semantics and leveraging many loosely formed ontologies to deliver precise answers to natural-language queries. In my recent big data predictions for 2014, I state that cognitive computing — much of which will move into the cloud — incorporates and extends the innovations pioneered by the semantic Web community.” Read more

IBM Suggests That Computers May Emulate the Human Brain in the Future

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After the recent news of the new Watson Ecosystem, IBM is now insisting that computers may be emulate the human brain in the near future, Jon Xavier of the Silicon Valley Business Journal reports. Xavier writes, “You can date the first modern era of computing, in which massive mainframes like ENIAC were put to work on math and business problems too complex for the simple counting machines that came before, to a series of talks about computer science in the late 1940s… On Nov. 19, IBM held what it hopes will be another such watershed conference at its Almaden Research Center in San Jose — a colloquium on emerging computing technologies modeled on how the human mind works.” Read more

The Future of Cognitive Computing

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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.” Read more