IBM Watson: A new Era of Computing

Starting a new job is always interesting; new people, new environment, new opportunities and new ways of looking at things. I’ve had the opportunity recently to take this challenge with a role at one of the most famous and renown technology companies in the world, IBM.  Now before I go into too much detail of career I want to move quickly onto the reason I am writing this article today.  Its also going to be a departure of my usual articles that I often aim squarely at the smaller business owners and marketers.  Today I am going to talk about big enterprise!  I hope that thought doesn’t scare you off as I think what I’m going to talk about is the future for us all and extremely exciting and interesting.

During my first week at IBM I kept hearing about a Watson, was it a person? No it was something much more than that, but maybe also very similar.  I did a bit of digging around on the company intranet and through various presentations until I had a clear picture of what Watson is.  I must say that what I found out was pretty exciting for me as a Digital Marketer and also as a fan of all things technology. I found the future!

IBM Watson and the new era of Computing.

We are now on the very start of a 3rd era of computing, Cognitive computing. The previous 2 eras were Tabulation, that’s to say those big big computers that where fed by punch cards and the era that most of us are familiar with programmable computing.

Cognitive computing will blow you away. But what exactly is it?  In a nutshell Cognitive computing involves systems that learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own.  Self-learning, very Sci-Fi very cool.

IBM Watson represents the first into Cognitive computing and its value for big Enterprise is a real paradigm shift.   Watson uses a mixture of programmatic computing and a combination of 3 capabilities: Natural Language processing, hypothesis generation and dynamic learning to produce something unique.

In today’s world data is produced at a phenomenal rate there are over 58 million tweets a day alone.  On top of this most of the world’s data is unstructured, around 80% in fact.   This presents a big challenge to business and also a massive opportunity – Step forward Watson.   The combination of Watsons abilities lets it move beyond programmatic computing and unlock this untapped reserve of unstructured data.  It’s a technology that allows us to move from keyword based search that only provides us with lists of locations to a much more intuitive and conversational means of discovering with a set of confidence ranked responses. Best of all Watson learns from its answers and interactions to give better ones.

This will no doubt become a valuable tool for businesses looking to gain maximum insight from large amounts of unstructured data.  In fact its already being used by Banks and Medical research to bring new insights to those using it.

It’s a massive and sometimes complex subject so if you want to know more about Watson then why not check out the website http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/

Also check out Watsons winning appearance on the American Gameshow Jeopardy!  The future is now.

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