How IBM's Watson Will Transform Business And SocietyBy Manoj Saxena, General Manager, IBM Watson Solutions
After Watson won on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, a lot of people didn’t really understand what “Watson” was. They thought it was a particular piece of hardware: a glowing blue supercomputer that IBM built in one of its labs.
But now, as Watson comes of age and makes the transition from science experiment to a force to be reckoned with in business and society, I think it’s time to give people a new way of thinking about it. So here goes:
Watson is a cognitive capability that resides in the computing cloud — just like Google and Facebook and Twitter. This new capability is designed to help people penetrate complexity so they can make better decisions and live and work more successfully. Eventually, a host of cognitive services will be delivered to people at any time and anywhere through a wide variety of handy devices. Laptops. Tablets. Smart phones. You name it.
In other words, you won’t need to be a TV producer or a giant corporation to take advantage of Watson’s capabilities. Everybody will have Watson — or a relative of the Watson technologies — at his or her fingertips.
Indeed, Watson represents the first wave in a new era of technology: the era of cognitive computing. This new generation of technology has the potential to transform business and society just as radically as today’s programmable computers did so over the past 60+ years. Cognitive systems will be capable of making sense of vast quantities of unstructured information, by learning, reasoning and interacting with people in ways that are more natural for us.
You may be familiar with the first steps for Watson after the Jeopardy! victory. Our scientists and engineers have been working with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, WellPoint and other healthcare institutions. The goal is to help professionals and organizations deal with the deluge of medical information and transform how medicine is taught, practiced and paid for. For patients, the quality and speed of care will be improved through individualized, evidence based medicine.
But healthcare is just the start. IBM is working with companies in a wide range of industries to bring new cognitive capabilities to the way they do business. In a next step, we recently announced a new service called IBM Watson Engagement Advisor, which is being used by companies in retail, banking, insurance and telecommunications, to crunch big data in real time and transform the way they engage clients via customer service, marketing and sales.
Many more applications will come:
–In a big city, cognitive systems will help city leaders react, prioritize and respond to citizens more effectively by using data to gain insights into complex systems.
–In the home, intelligent assistant apps on smart phones will help elderly citizens and their health care providers better manage chronic diseases and promote wellness.
–In companies, cognitive systems will help engineers and designers create new products and services that respond better to the demands of consumers or even anticipate their needs.
IBM will create some of these services and continue to play a major role as the cognitive era unfolds. Our clients will embed Watson-like technologies in many aspects of how they run their businesses: from supply chain management and manufacturing, to accounting and market research.
We also anticipate that many other companies will develop new capabilities enabled by cognitive technologies. In addition, independent software and services companies will build new cognitive services on top of IBM’s technology platform. You can think of these as cognitive apps, just like Apple offers apps made by others to run on its iPhones and iPads.
So, don’t think of Watson as something that’s locked up in a box. Rather, think of it as a cloud service, available anywhere. And think of it as the foundation for an ecosystem of innovative companies — all of them focused on bringing new capabilities to individuals, businesses and society.
If you’re like to learn more about cognitive technologies and their impact on the world, you can download a free chapter of the upcoming book, Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing, by IBM Research Director John E. Kelly III.
(¯`*• Global Source and/or more resources at http://goo.gl/zvSV7 │ www.Future-Observatory.blogspot.com and on LinkeIn Group's "Becoming Aware of the Futures" at http://goo.gl/8qKBbK │ @SciCzar │ Point of Contact: www.linkedin.com/in/AndresAgostini