Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing (Columbia Business School Publishing)

Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing (Columbia Business School Publishing)

John E. Kelly III

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 023116856X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. The victory of IBM's Watson on the television quiz show Jeopardy! revealed how scientists and engineers at IBM and elsewhere are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice.

In Smart Machines, John E. Kelly III, director of IBM Research, and Steve Hamm, a writer at IBM and a former business and technology journalist, introduce the fascinating world of "cognitive systems" to general audiences and provide a window into the future of computing. Cognitive systems promise to penetrate complexity and assist people and organizations in better decision making. They can help doctors evaluate and treat patients, augment the ways we see, anticipate major weather events, and contribute to smarter urban planning. Kelly and Hamm's comprehensive perspective describes this technology inside and out and explains how it will help us conquer the harnessing and understanding of "big data," one of the major computing challenges facing businesses and governments in the coming decades. Absorbing and impassioned, their book will inspire governments, academics, and the global tech industry to work together to power this exciting wave in innovation.

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be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before?3 This avenue of thought stretches back to the computing pioneer J.C.R. Licklider, who led the U.S. government project that evolved into the Internet. In 1960 he authored a paper, “Man-Computer Symbiosis,” where he predicted that “in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly and the resulting partnership will think as no human

strikes young adults. The body’s own immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, causing physical disabilities and cognitive problems. The cause isn’t known, and there is no cure. Murali’s goal is to find a cure for the disease—or discover a way to prevent it in the first place. What makes his analysis so challenging is the fact that there are so many potential combinations of genes that could contribute to MS and, when genetic information is combined with environmental factors such as diet

ingenuity. But what if scientists and engineers could use computers to help them develop new materials—indeed, whole products—from the molecule up? That way, they could much more quickly identify promising materials, mechanisms, and designs, potentially saving a tremendous amount of time and effort. If the computation, search, and learning capabilities of IBM’s Watson could be applied not to searching for answers that are already known, as Watson does, but to a search for answers that are not

have no plans to prepare Watson to take it. A Turing test would merely show how good Watson is at imitating human beings and our quirks and social conventions. Instead, they want to concentrate on further developing the machine so it can become an expert, trusted advisor to humans, such as the oncologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. They do not foresee a situation where machines would play the same cognitive role in the universe as humans do. Instead, they can be helpers. Machine

cognition and human cognition are complementary. We have different strengths and weaknesses. The opportunity here is not to replicate human cognition but to use computers to help us reason over human-created data—our communications, our documents, our images, and our designs. Dr. Larry Norton at Memorial Sloan-Kettering agrees. While he embraces the expanded role of cognitive computing in health care, he believes that even as medical decision making becomes ever more scientific, it will also

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