Tag Archives: cognitive computing

Do computers still need us?

One of the most exciting things going on in the world of tech as we approach 2016 is the advancement of artificial intelligence technology. One of the biggest steps taken in the industry is the improvement of so-called “cognitive computing.” Cognitive computing is when a computer is capable of interpreting human meaning out of questions spoken in natural language. In other words, it doesn’t need to be given specified commands. They aren’t programmed to give a set response to a predetermined question posed in a specific way. They “hear” human speech, interpret what is being asked or said and determine an appropriate response.

Does that make us obsolete?

As with any major scientific advancement, the idea of artificial intelligence is scary to a lot of people. One of the fears, and our literature and movies often depict this fear, is that artificial intelligence could grow smart enough to rise up and overthrow humanity. That level of artificial intelligence is probably very far away still.

A more legitimate fear, and a fear that could be realized very soon, is the idea that artificial intelligence can grow smart enough that it no longer needs us. If we create something autonomous, it can take our jobs, do them better than we can, and make us obsolete. For some, that may be a fate worse than death at the hands of a robot apocalypse.

According to developers, the answer is “no”

In a recent survey of 529 artificial intelligence developers, 47% said that machine learning software still requires human input some of the time. Just 2.6% reported that human input wasn’t required at all. That means that approximately 97.4% of the most advanced computers in the world still need the human touch.

You can expect the cognitive computing industry to continue to grow in the coming years and expect artificial intelligence to become even more advanced. But according to the leading researchers in the field who understand the concept of artificial intelligence more than anyone else, even as these computers and programs are designed and released into the world, they will still need a team of humans to keep them working properly. It seems that humans don’t need to worry about losing their jobs to artificial intelligence anytime soon.

But now that computers can interpret and respond to questions, it’d be interesting to see how they’d answer the question: “Do you still need us?”

Source: Forbes

IBM is growing its Artificial Intelligence group with Watson

business-man-1552426We all remember Watson from Jeopardy, right? It’s not just Jeopardy that Watson is used for. Watson is famous for its cognitive computing system. Cognitive computing is another name for artificial intelligence. In other words, Watson learns. Watson is self-learning. Watson takes vast amounts of information and analyzes that information for whatever purpose necessary, better than mere humans can. Watson can think so much better than humans that he has written a recipe book and even has assisted oncologists, which are cancer doctors, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Now, 2000 employees at IBM have been formed into a group to advise companies how to use the artificial intelligence software in Watson to their advantage. Can you imagine using Watson in medicine, oil and gas exploration, financial management?

The announcement of Cognitive Business Solutions

Tuesday is a gathering of executives in the information technology world in Orland, Florida. Virginia Rometty will be on hand to announce the new team, with Stephen Pratt at the helm, running the new group at IBM called Cognitive Business Solutions. Stephen Pratt worked for TPG, an investment firm then an Indian outsourcing firm, Infosys and now IBM.


IBM sees Watson as something every business can use. Their Global Business Services is getting ready to start passing along Watson’s information. Watson cost IBM over $1 billion of its $17 billion budget in its analytics business. At this point it is unclear how much Watson is making IBM but IBM plans to make over $1 billion each year, beginning in 2018 with Watson.

One way IBM makes money from Watson is that if a developer wants to base its programs on the Watson Developer Cloud, IBM collects a percent of the revenue generated. There are over 350 partners using the Watson Developer Cloud and that is expected to grow.

IBM is ready to help small businesses to large businesses analyze their needs and then tailor Watson’s software to help them meet those needs. They also answer twitter questions and support personnel in any way necessary. They also work with security, internet issues and business analytics.

Artificial Intelligence is growing. Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are all advancing using artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is used in voice and image recognition and as a virtual assistant. There will be a lot of competition in the next few years and Watson is waiting to take center stage.

Source: Wall Street Journal