IBM’s Watson

Humans have always used tools to amplify their abilities. Besides the obvious fire and Stone tools, language is the probably the most important, allowing us to create complex thoughts and share them, collectively raising the knowledge and experience of the whole species. The next evolution of language is Mathematics. It is the method we use to take those complex thoughts and apply logic to them, to effectively, predict the future. Mathematics is the basis for all our technological achievements throughout history, leading us through the Industrial Revolution and beyond, changing how we live our lives completely. What the Industrial Revolution did to human strength, the more recent development of the Microprocessor has done to human thought. The Internet  has completely changed our lives, affecting each and every one of us, connecting us in ways that were never possible before, facilitating information exchange on a global scale and raising our collective consciousness to the next evolutionary level, making it a revolution as important as language itself.

But, till recently Computers have been limited by the instructions given to it by its human operators, who sometimes have to write millions of lines of code requiring hundreds of thousands of man hours of coding, to get the results they want. This is now a major limitation owing to the sheer size of the inputs required, which is soon going to become a physical impossibility as requirements become more and more complex.

Enter Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This new tool in our arsenal is going to be the next great revolution. Simulated neural nets can learn how to do things by experience and get better at the jobs they were designed to do over time. This is similar to how Humans develop skills through experience and practice. Effectively, the program writes itself. IBM’s Watson is one such neural net, built to take decision making to another level. It has the capability to analyze information written in human languages in the form of documents, ledgers, or even use information from the entire internet and come to conclusions, similar to how a human would, and then present that information in the form of answers to questions. This ability of computers to understand language and form an opinion is going to revolutionize how we interact with information. Several jobs that involved studying thousands of documents like in the legal, medical, safety, insurance, business, banking and political sectors will now take a few seconds instead of a few months. The implications are profound.

In 2013 IBM announced that they will be providing Watson’s services on the cloud to software developers for integration into their software and applications. This is becoming a reality sooner than anyone expected and the next app you use on your phone just might be powered by Watson.

Silstone Group Inc. is dedicated to discover the potential of these technologies, and help integrate IBM’s Watson into the app’s and software solutions we develop for our customers and their businesses.

 

-Triman S Bhullar

 

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