IBM Watson Going After Hidden Connections in Big Data
I recently saw a movie called Transcendence and it reminded me heavily of this supercomputer IBM Watson. What brought my mind back to it today was the news that recently the cognitive computing abilities of the AI computer had been further upgraded in order for it to discover hidden connections in big data.
According to the latest reports, after the upgrades the supercomputer can now understand legal language as well as scientific language – regarding the former, it is now acquainted with the matters of intellectual property as well. These features are being offered in certain sectors through the Watson Discovery Advisor.
For those who don’t know, IBM Watson is an artificially intelligent super computer that was named after industrialist and the first chief executive officer of IBM, Thomas J Watson. It was originally created so that it could be used on a quiz show called Jeopardy where it defeated the reigning champions in 2011 to win a prize of $1 million.
Even back then, it had a huge data base of around 200 million pages that included the whole of Wikipedia. Later on, it was announced that the supercomputer will be used for medicinal purposes – aiding nurses to be specific and decision making regarding lung cancer cases.
Now however, IBM Watson has gone beyond that and started scratching the surfaces of scientific discoveries. In a layman’s language, the changes made to the computer will now allow it to aid scientists in finding a connection between data or information such that they would not have seen otherwise. If the wishes of IBM be trusted, this will escalate the rate at which scientific breakthroughs are made.
Talking of the ability to understand scientific languages, IBM hopes that this will enable it to analyze and process any data in the matter of hours, although it might have taken months for a team of scientists to do so. Even more so, this is the type of research that companies across the globe are spending billions of dollars for. To quantify, IBM says that the top 1000 R&D companies spend $600 billion on research.
John Gordon, the vice president of IBM Watson Group, says that they have spent years on the idea of cognitive computing and that it is their belief it will be the future of computing. He does agree that it is a little early for all that but that doesn’t mean the idea of IBM Watson doesn’t have a potential to revamp the entire research and development industry.
From where I see it, the possibilities are seemingly boundless. What do you think about the future of IBM Watson?