If you’ve been keeping up with technology news in the past year or two, no doubt you’ve stumbled across this name, but few really take the time to get to know IBM Watson. So let’s talk a bit on who he is and why he matters.
Named after IBM’s CEO Thomas J. Watson, IBM Watson is somewhat of a “Super Computer” originally built to answer questions as accurate and fast as possible and to later build on artificial intelligence with the likelihood of the ability to think independently. Why does this matter? Because computers were originally built with this vision in mind, the vision of a robotic future, where humans talk and productively work side by side with machines, and by IBM Watson, this vision is taking hold on reality, or at the very least; it’s a good step forward, it will take some time for us to make the true vision of the “Year 2000” a reality considering we’re about a decade overdue.
The fascinating thing about IBM Watson is his sense of logic, his speed in data mining his enormous database of millions of articles to then reason on the differences and output the valid response. The equations used to perform task like this are practically universal, which brings questions on IBM Watson’s ability to recognize similarities and differences, could IBM Watson be creative? Could he be original? I asked myself this question actually, and thankfully, we aren’t to far off from that idea.
IBM Watson’s ability to find information and tell you the correct answer could be routed to looking at a set of objects and distinguishing what goes with what. Even on an elementary level, the ability to have five colors ranging from Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, and Pink, and to tell which two go well together may not completely be a matter of preference, for if IBM Watson was programmed with a preference, he should be able to source say 15 appealing matches. So why not apply the same elementary principles to other creative pursuits. If given the right variables, objects and principles of an art or science, there’s no reason why Watson shouldn’t be able to tell if two flavors will taste well together, or if two sounds would sound well when paired together, or if two chemicals should mixed together, It should be able to predict the outcome, after all, the art of prediction is really just math, logic and perception. This machine could look in all the gray areas in science only a machine can reach.
IBM Watson reaches deeper as we enter into a corporate world of economics and analytics. Applying the same principles and formulas used to win Jeopardy, IBM Watson is already in the works of winning a much larger game. Using it’s sense of prediction in application to patterns in Trade, Healthcare and Economics. it can become a superior virtual trader and marketing consultant, only making the wisest logical and most strategic choices, in fact, IBM Watson is being currently being used by the USAA to make psychological, human decisions for ex-militants, including Mayo Clinic and other healthcare providers to gather data to tailor their care efforts. It’s generated a community of IBM Watson Analytics, a group of over 800 teams driving analytics in finance and health care and other marketing sectors to gather retail data. In the future, he could become an expert who later learns to teach, of course, at the end of it all, much is dependent on how much authority is given to this mechanical mind. Could this machine end up replacing your IT team in the future ? A possibility.
It’s an interesting thought, that once it’s reached a level of intelligence, humans may have no say or need to think anymore, who would trust a human thought? Human think tanks may be replaced by ‘do it all’ machines. IBM Watson would have covered every gray area ranking human thoughts to be inferior. IBM Watson could become a god, knowing all before it’s even known to us. This machine could turnout to be either a hero or a villain, it all depends on how much power is appointed to it, but why hold back when there’s money to be made, especially in politics. Once politics gets involved, science will have no authority, but this is all just the potential, in the meantime, IBM Watson remains a marvel and beacon of light for a future stuck in the past.
Founder & CEO, LINC Project, INC. a Managed Service Provider in New York and San Francisco