In the 19th century, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing were just theoretical concepts, which were slowly put into practice during the 20th century. Today, in 2017, IBM has successfully combined all three technologies into one super thinking cognitive system named “Watson”.
Watson is a question answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM’s Deep QA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM’s first CEO, industrialist Thomas J. Watson. The computer system was specifically developed to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy! and, in 2011, the Watson computer system competed on Jeopardy! against former winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings winning the first-place prize of $1 million.
Watson had access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content consuming four terabytes of disk storage including the full text of Wikipedia, but was not connected to the Internet during the game. For each clue, Watson’s three most probable responses were displayed on the television screen. Watson consistently outperformed its human opponents on the game’s signaling device, but had trouble in a few categories, notably those having short clues containing only a few words.
Beyond the marketing hype, Watson is an interesting and potentially important AI effort. That’s because, for all the excitement over the ways in which companies like Google and Facebook are harnessing AI, no one has yet worked out how AI is going to fit into many workplaces. IBM is trying to make it easier for companies to apply these techniques, and to tap into the expertise required to do so.
IBM Watson’s potential to super think has opened up limitless possibilities of its use, in many fields, such as in:
Wimbledon’s new AI-powered video software can generate automated video highlights using the IBM Watson platform, meaning the video editor will no longer need to quickly cut and edit to put a highlights package together.
IBM’s Watson engine will pull in information to create video highlights based on crowd noise, social traction, facial recognition and sentiment analysis of players following points to auto-curate highlights packages.
IBM and General Motors (GM) joined forces to add artificial intelligence to GM’s cars. The partnership aims to offer location-based products and services to you while you’re in your car.
GM’s OnStar Go, is the industry’s first cognitive mobility service and will use machine learning to understand user preferences, and recognize patterns found in your decision data. From that, customers will receive personalized marketing services from numerous partners such as Glympse, iHeartRadio and Mastercard.
In March 2017, Rocket Fuel, the AI-powered marketing and advertising company founded by ex-Yahoo employee’s announced that, they are working with Watson to make sure that the content of their ads aren’t negative or against their clients.
In September 2016, IBM Watson signed a 10-year contract with Harrow Council to bring Watson Care Manager to support individuals in the UK.
IBM’s Watson Care Manager can control scheduling, develop personalized care plans, manage budgets, select providers and enable care. This will allow individuals and caregivers to quickly choose the most appropriate healthcare provider, determined by their allocated personal budget.
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is teaming up with IBM Watson to better connect with its customers, enabling people to ask questions by voice and text right via GSK’s online ads. Watson provides a very personalized experience. If you’re sick, through Watson, you can ask a question and it will provide a personalized response.
Is Watson the future? Is IBM heading in the right direction? Yes, and Yes! With Watson being offered as a cloud API, things are certainly going to change in the IT world. One can only look forward to how and the when of it. With Watson as the tool, IBM is certainly going to achieve its primary goal – Make the planet smarter!