IBM’s cognitive computing: The next wave applications that are as intutive & capable as human beings

IBM WatsonIn a few months from now, or at least sometime next year, a few IBM partners will release a series of software products that will be unlike anything people have encountered so far. Instead of doing a task for you through a software program, these products will prepare you instead to do that task yourself. You could ask the computer about your health, a home purchase, or a travel plan. You don’t need visits from sales executives for product briefings. The computer will gently guide you to make the right choice at the right time.

Currently, these products are being built around Watson, the famous IBM computer that won the Jeopardy championship. To be precise, it is built around a more compact and powerful machine than the Jeopardy champion. IBM threw open this machine to programmers on the cloud three weeks ago to build products and services in a few industries to begin with. IBM has applications from 200 potential partners, including a few from India, focused initially on healthcare, financial services and travel. “We are trying to build an ecosystem of partners around Watson,” says Jay Subrahmonia, vice-president of development and delivery, Watson Solutions at IBM.

IBM calls it cognitive computing, to distinguish it from the more common term, artificial intelligence. It is purportedly the next wave of computing, infinitely more powerful and long-lasting than any other computing wave we have seen. It changes the way we interact with computers, the reason we use computers, and also the way we program computers. It is a big business opportunity as well. Just the global healthcare market for such systems is projected to increase from $201 million now to $239 billion by 2019, according to the market research firm WinterGreen Research.

Read the complete article on economictimes.com |Posted by Khalid Raza

Are You Smarter Than Watson? Try Playing the Trivia Challenge

Photo credit:  LA Times

Photo credit: LA Times

In 2011, IBM’s Watson beat the reigning Jeopardy champions, but maybe you are smarter?  Give it a try with this interactive Trivia challenge from The New York Times where you can play against Watson yourself –> play trivia against Watson

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

#GreaterIBM Tweet Chat Preview: Smarter Machines #P4SPChat on 10/31/13

brain in boxHow smart can machines get?  Can they think like humans?  What’s the science behind it and what are the implications?

Chat Recap Here

Join the conversation as The Greater IBM Connection (#GreaterIBM) and People for a Smarter Planet (#P4SPChat) host a Tweet Chat on the topic of Cognitive Computing on Thursday October 31, 2013 from 12pm-1pm ET.

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Panelists

Our panelists for the Tweet Chat will be Steve Hamm and Dr. Dharmendra Modha.

Steve Hamm, IBM Communications Strategist and Co-Author of Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing

Steve Hamm, Co-Author of Smart Machines

Steve Hamm, IBM Communications Strategist, has co-authored a new book, Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Systems with IBM Research Director John E. Kelly III.  It’s the second book that Steve has co-authored at IBM; the first was IBM’s Centennial book, called Making the World Work Better.  Prior to joining IBM in 2009, Steve worked in journalism for 30 years, as a technology writer and editor at San Jose Mercury News, PC Week, and BusinessWeek. He also wrote two additional books, Bangalore Tiger (2006), on the rise of the Indian tech industry, and The Race for Perfect (2008), on innovation in mobile computing.  Learn more about Steve.

Dharmendra Mohda, IBM Research Senior Manager, Cognitive Computing.  Photo Credit:  Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Dharmendra Mohda, IBM Research Senior Manager, Cognitive Computing. Photo Credit: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Dr. Dharmendra Modha is the founder of IBM’s Cognitive Computing group at IBM Research – Almaden and the principal investigator for DARPA SyNAPSE team globally. In this role, Dr. Modha leads a global team across neuroscience, nanoscience and supercomputing to build a computing system that emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action, and cognition – all while consuming many orders of magnitudes less power and space than today’s computers.  Learn more about Dr. Dharmendra Modha.

So, please join the #GreaterIBM and People for a Smarter Planet (#P4SPChat) Tweet Chat on 10/31/13 from 12pm – 1pm ET as we discuss “Where Will Smarter Machines Take Us?”.  You can join at twubs.com/P4SPchat

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WHERE WILL SMART MACHINES TAKE US questions:

  • Q1: What’s new and different about cognitive computers?
  • Q2: What are some of the major applications and benefits of cognitive computing?
  • Q3: Can computing systems emulate a living brain’s computing efficiency & power usage?
  • Q4: Can computing systems emulate a living brain’s intuition and creativity?
  • Q5: How will cognitive computers and humans collaborate together?

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#GreaterIBM Tweet Chat with IBM People for a Smarter Planet (#P4SPChat)

Date: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Time: 12pm – 1pm US ET
Join the Tweet Chat: twubs.com/P4SPchat
Hashtags to follow & engage in the conversation in real-time: #GreaterIBM, #P4SPChat

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About #GreaterIBM

The Greater IBM Connection is IBM’s global business and professional network that brings together current and former IBMers around the world.  As the evolving technology industry increasingly calls for relationship led sales, marketing, branding, and recruiting, The Greater IBM Connection provides a tremendous opportunity to stay connected and engaged with market influencers.  We hope you join and contribute today!

About #P4SPChat

Are you interested in talking about building a Smarter Planet? Join us and discuss how businesses, governments and entire industries are adopting technologies to become efficient and effective. Follow the hashtag #P4SPchat.  Tweet Chats are held on an adhoc basis, as scheduled.

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Additional Resources:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Dr. Dharmendra Modha – Building IBM’s Brain in a Box

Photo Credit:  Qnexis

Photo Credit: Qnexis

““We are fundamentally expanding the boundary of what computers can do.  This could have far reaching impacts on technology, business, government and society.”

IBM’s Watson may have beaten the reigning Jeopardy champions in 2011, but IBM scientists, led by Dr. Dharmendra Modha, are now working on developing new, smart computers designed from the human brain.  The ultimate goal is to build a chip ecosystem with ten billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses, while consuming just a kilowatt of power and occupying less than a two-liter soda bottle.

Dharmendra Mohda, IBM Research Senior Manager, Cognitive Computing.  Photo Credit:  Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Dharmendra Modha, IBM Research Senior Manager, Cognitive Computing. Photo Credit: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Dr. Dharmendra Modha is the founder of IBM’s Cognitive Computing group at IBM Research – Almaden and the principal investigator for DARPA SyNAPSE team globally. In this role, Dr. Modha leads a global team across neuroscience, nanoscience and supercomputing to build a computing system that emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action, and cognition – all while consuming many orders of magnitudes less power and space than today’s computers.

Stay tuned for details on a Tweet chat we’ll be hosting with Dharmendra Modha and Steve Hamm on Thursday, October 31.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Where Will Smart Computers Take Us? Sneak Preview of IBMers’ New Book

smartmachinesbookcoverWhat is the real science happening today behind  artificial intelligence? IBM Communications Strategist and former business and tech journalist Steve Hamm has co-authored a new book on the topic, titled Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Systems.

Co-authored by IBM Research Director John E. Kelly III, the book will be published by Columbia University Press on October 15. It lays out IBM’s vision of the next era of computing, the cognitive era, which we believe will be as different from today’s computing as this period was from the tabulating era.

The book describes what’s happening in cognitive computing, how it’s happening, and what impacts it will have on the economy, business, individuals, and society. It’s a call to action for technologists, scientists, universities, government leaders, tech industry companies, and students to get involved and help to usher in the new era.

Download a free chapter of the book from Columbia University Press

Pre-order the book from Amazon.com

Order directly from Columbia University Press to get a 30% discount – use the discount coupon code SMART.

Read the free chapter and be sure to share it with your social networks!

To learn more about author Steve Hamm, read his interview with The Greater IBM Connection.

In addition, stay tuned for details on a Tweet chat we’ll be hosting with Steve and Dharmendra Modha on Thursday, October 31.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto and Regan Kelly

Interview with Steve Hamm, Co-Author of Book on Cognitive Computing

Steve Hamm, IBM Communications Strategist and Co-Author of Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing

Steve Hamm, IBM Communications Strategist and Co-Author of Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing

“I want to make the world work better and more sustainably, and IBM can help get that done.”

IBM Communications Strategist Steve Hamm has co-authored with IBM Research Director John E. Kelly III a new book, Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Systems.

The book will be published by Columbia University Press on October 15. It lays out IBM’s vision of the next era of computing, the cognitive era.

It’s the second book that Steve has co-authored at IBM; the first was IBM’s Centennial book, called Making the World Work Better.

Prior to joining IBM in 2009, Steve worked in journalism for 30 years, as a technology writer and editor at San Jose Mercury News, PC Week, and BusinessWeek. He also wrote two additional books, Bangalore Tiger (2006), on the rise of the Indian tech industry, and The Race for Perfect (2008), on innovation in mobile computing.

Sneak preview of Smart Machines

Stay tuned for details on a Tweet chat we’ll be hosting with Steve and Dharmendra Modha on Thursday, October 31.

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The Greater IBM Connection: What do you do at IBM?

Steve Hamm: I help shape our marketing and communications strategy, which combines paid (advertising), earned (PR) and owned (content we create ourselves). I focus on the “owned” part. I produce mini-documentary videos and write everything from Tweets to books–including co-authoring IBM’s centennial book, Making the World Work Better, and co-authoring the new book, Smart Machines.

At the highest level, my role at IBM is to help corporate communications make the transition from traditional public relations — communicating through the media — to the new model of communicating directly with our many constituents and influencing people through social media. In addition, I aspire to be IBM’s chief storyteller.

When did you join IBM?

I joined in December of 2009.

Tell us about your career prior to that – how did you come to do what you’re doing now?

I was a journalist for 30 years, starting at small newspapers in Connecticut in the 1980s. I was later the technology editor for the San Jose Mercury News, a writer and editor at PC Week, and a writer and editor at BusinessWeek (12 years there).

I covered the technology industry for 20 years. It seems like I have lived through at least half a dozen tech revolutions.

I wrote two books prior to my time at IBM. Bangalore Tiger (2006) was about the rise of the Indian tech industry. The Race for Perfect (2008) was about innovation in mobile computing.

Previous to my stint in journalism, I owned a small book store in Danbury, Connecticut, and worked in book stores in Manhattan.

I also wrote 1 1/2 novels. Neither the 1 nor the 1/2 was published.

I grew up in a small former coal mining town in Western Pennsylvania and got my education at Carnegie Mellon University.

What was it that interested you about putting your skills/talents into work at IBM?

In my last few years at BusinessWeek, I covered IBM. My main focuses were on innovation and globalization.

When BusinessWeek lost much of its advertising support and McGraw-Hill began shopping it around, I started looking for my next career move. I was attracted to IBM for two reasons: its incredible capabilities as an innovation engine and the Smarter Planet agenda. I want to make the world work better and more sustainably, and IBM can help get that done.

What inspired you to write this book? What was the impetus for creating it, now?

In preparation for IBM’s centennial celebration, John Kelly asked a group at IBM Research to look 100 years into the past to help tell the story of how far IBM had come in its first 100 years. He also asked the group to look 100 years into the future. Where was computing going? That project stimulated a lot of discussions around IBM Research and elsewhere in the company about the future of computing. During the centennial year and thereafter, John gave a series of presentations about the major technology shifts he saw coming.  He said we’re in the midst of a transition from the era of traditional computing, which started in the 1940s, to a new era of computing–which we later began calling the cognitive computing era.

This was the first time since the 1960s that IBM had a comprehensive vision of the future of computing. I told John and some of my communications colleagues that we should write a short book about it. At first, we were planning on doing just an ebook, but after we hooked up with Columbia University Press, the publisher of the business book imprint urged us to make a print version, as well.

Download a free chapter of the book smartmachinesbookcover

Tell us about the collaborative process you, John Kelly, and others used to develop the book.

I began by interviewing John to get the full picture of the vision he was in the process of developing. He suggested a list of people at IBM he thought I should interview. I talked to those people and many more–both inside the company and outside. We decided to go deep on several key technology areas: learning systems, big data analytics, data-centric computing systems and nanotechnology.

I also wanted to look at how cognitive technologies would affect cities in the future. So we organized the book around those topics. I sent sections of the book to John as I completed them, got his feedback, and reworked the chapters.

We also got a lot of help from the editors at Columbia University Press and a handful of university professors who read the draft and sent comments.

What do you see as the book’s particular relevance/importance to IBMers and Greater IBMers? 

To my mind, the era of cognitive systems presents an opportunity for IBM to make big bets on key technologies and to, potentially, become the unrivaled leader in the new era of computing. I think it will take a lot of bravery on the part of IBM’s senior leadership team to be as bold as they will need to be. They’re under incredible pressure from Wall Street to meet short-term financial goals. If IBM goes big on this one, many current employees will have an opportunity to participate in one of the major technology revolutions. Current and former employees who are IBM stockholders could reap big gains if IBM bets big and wins.

When you write that you believe that the cognitive era will be “as different from today’s computing as this period was from the tabulating era”, can you elaborate? What do you suspect will be the most significant difference(s) in people’s day-to-day lives, once cognitive computing has been fully implemented?

Tabulating machines were good at arithmetic and at organizing numbers in rows and columns. Today’s computers are very good at math, organizing and storing routine information, desktop publishing, and presenting Web pages and videos. Cognitive computers will be able to sense, learn, reason, predict and interact with humans in powerful new ways. They’ll help people penetrate complexity, make the most of big data, and make better decisions. They’ll help people live and work better.

Given its enormous impact, what are some ways people can actively prepare for, and get involved in, this new era?

Students and young professionals can study the technology disciplines that feed into cognitive computing, including artificial intelligence, information management, data analytics, systems engineering and nanotechnology. Midi-career professionals can shift into cognitive-related jobs. Individuals can look forward to having information and insights and intelligent agents at their beck and call anywhere and any time.

What is your response to people who fear certain aspects of cognitive computing, or hold inaccurate ideas about how it works and will work?

Some people are afraid that computers will take control, like “Hal” in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey; or that computers will eliminate people’s jobs. It’s true that computer automation has eliminated or transformed many jobs over the past 70 years, but that’s true of all technologies. Cognitive technologies will change people’s jobs, as well, though I think they’ll be primarily augmentative rather than replacing human effort. It’s incumbent on individuals and society to find new skills and opportunities for humans, so people can work in collaboration with computers to do things that neither people nor machines can do well now. At the same time, it’s up to society to prevent machines from asserting too much control over organizations and people’s lives.

What is next for you personally? What does the future hold?

I’m learning about how cognitive computing will change organizations, work and leadership. When I know, I’ll write about it.

What do you do for fun,  in the rest of your non-IBM life? How do you like to spend your free time?

I exercise 1 1/4 hours every morning during the week, which keeps me healthy and happy. On the weekends, I ride my bike, do home maintenance and hang out with my wife, son and friends. My wife, son and I have been binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix.

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Related:

- Posted by Regan Kelly and Julie Yamamoto

IBM Watson Ads Are a Hit During US Open

In 2011, Watson won Jeopardy!. Now, it’s answering bigger questions.

Tennis ball over the net imageIf you’ve been paying attention to The US Open, then you’ve probably been enjoying the IBM Watson 15-second ads like this one:

We’re happy to report there are four more! All of them are posted here, at IBM’s YouTube Channel.

Take a look, share this with your friends, let us know what you think.

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- Posted by Regan Kelly

IBM, Where the Ideal of Corporate Citizenship Thrives

At IBM, concepts of corporate citizenship run deep. Legendary IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson, Sr., made sure of that. Watson understood the deep connection between a company and the communities it operated in. He understood too the positive impact that a company could have on a community. These were lessons he learned early in his business career, when as an executive at National Cash Register, he was a part of the NCR response team that helped the Cash’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio, weather a devastating flood.

MigelMedal_AmerFoundationBlind_1952

IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Sr., receives the Migel Medal from Helen Keller on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind. Keller was a noted American author and political activist, and reportedly was the first deaf-blind person to receive a bachelor’s degree. The Migel Medal remains today the highest honor in the field of blindness. 1952

Watson took that civic-mindedness with him when he joined IBM in 1914, and he quickly instilled it into the company’s culture. “As citizens of the world, he once said, “we owe an obligation beyond the limits of our own business.” For the next four decades, he drove home this principled position by word and deed. “I know from past experience,” he said, “that the more people do in connection with outside affairs, civic and national affairs, the better job they are able to do in this business or in whatever business they are engaged. If we live just for ourselves, we are never able to get anything worthwhile out of life.”

To that end, it was a point of special pride for Watson that IBMers took to corporate social responsibility like wild ducks to water.  “I would like to pay special tribute to my associates in the IBM as citizens. Wherever I have gone I have found that they stand for good citizenship, every individual endeavoring to contribute something toward helping the country in which he lives.” In fact, Watson saw IBM as a role model for the world. “We [IBM] have organizations in 79 countries, practically all the countries of the world, and when we are able to maintain peace and cooperation among our people, it seems to me that the same thing could be accomplished among nations.”

Watson didn’t just talk the talk – he walked it. “The keynote of Mr. Watson’s life is service,” recollected Frederick Fuller, one of IBM’s leading inventors in the days before computers. “No one who knows him even slightly can doubt that. I don’t think there is a man alive who is more eager to better the common lot of mankind, regardless of race, creed, or color.”

As inspirational as he himself was to those who knew him, Watson himself found inspiration in the words of another. “George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘We must all share in the evils of the world or move to another planet,’” Watson once recalled. “Since I first heard that I have grown to feel that I am a part of all the evils of the world. And I am going to remain a part of them until I have exhausted all my energy, ability and resources in trying to correct them.” The depth of his personal commitment ranged from playing leading roles in organizations like the Red Cross and the NAACP to sending money to old acquaintances that had fallen on hard times. And he never hesitated to throw IBM’s resources behind good causes, like developing prosthetics for wounded veterans to manufacturing pocket-sized Braille printers and selling them at cost to designing and building the world’s first successful heart lung machine for free.

“A long time ago we ceased to think of IBM as a business,” Watson once reflected. “We hope that all IBM people will keep in mind that they have a duty to perform outside of the boundaries of IBM. Some of us must do things outside of our regular vocations, in order to develop this civilization to the point where we believe it ought to be.” He would be happy to know that today’s IBM remains just as committed to corporate citizenship as he was.

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by Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

by Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist
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For more on IBM History:  http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history

For more on IBM at 100 Years:  http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/

For more on IBM’s History of Innovation:  http://www.research.ibm.com/featured/history/

This post is part of The Greater IBM Connection’s July theme of Corporate Citizenship.

June 13 Event: IBM Watson – Beyond Jeopardy!

Interested in Watson and the supercomputer’s future? Then Don’t miss this webinar Thursday, June 13, 2013, at 1 pm ET/12 noon CT/11 am MT/10 am PT/5 pm GMT.

In 2011, IBM introduced Watson, a computer system capable of quickly and precisely answering natural language questions with accurate confidence estimation. In February of that year, Watson won a victory against the world’s best Jeopardy! players in a formal contest that was aired on national television.
IBM WatsonThat public performance heralded a future where we can efficiently tap into the wealth of knowledge buried in text and other unstructured data sources. IBM is now exploring new applications of the Watson technology including clinical decision support in healthcare.

Thursday’s webinar will cover:

  • Architecture of the Watson Question Answering System
  • Using the Apache UIMA framework for building natural language processing systems
  • How IBM is addressing new challenges for Watson in the healthcare domain

Presenters are Adam Lally, Senior Technical Staff Member in the Watson Technologies department at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center; and Dr. Will Tracz, Lockheed Martin Fellow Emeritus and Chair of ACM SIGSOFT. Learn more and register.

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Related:

Watson at Your Service: The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor

IBM’s Ginni Rometty Reveals Watson’s Future

 

- Posted by Regan Kelly

The Cognitive Computing Era: IBM’s Vision for the Future

Kerrie Holley

IBM Fellow Kerrie Holley

Computers won’t replace doctors, traffic analysts, or meteorologists anytime soon, but their real-time analytical capabilities can provide essential information to help people employed in these (and many other) fields make better, smarter decisions.

IBM today is testing its powerful cognitive computer systems – computers modeled on the human brain — around the world. The company sees a confluence of factors — Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud, or “SMAC” — that will combine with cognitive systems to have a major impact on 21st-century business, government, and society in general.

In a phone interview with InformationWeek, IBM research fellow Kerrie Holley gave an high-level overview of IBM’s take on SMAC, machine learning, and the sensor-driven Internet of Things, all expected to play starring roles in the new era of cognitive computing. Read more in this article in Information Week.

Related:

Meet IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor

SMAC

All about Watson

–Posted by Regan Kelly