I’m going to the Watson Developer Conference and why you should, too

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Republished from the Watson Blog

As a current product manager on the Watson Industry Applications team and a former software engineer on the Watson Life team, I have expertise in artificial intelligence from both a technical and business perspective. Graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, most of my experience has been in developing enterprise technologies –telemetry tools for the Mars Curiosity Rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, fraud detection systems using machine learning at Intuit, and cognitive cooking assistant, Chef Watson, that creates delicious new recipes at IBM. My daily responsibilities shifted from strictly development work to collaborating across domains to drive innovation from concept to reality. I am responsible for analyzing ambiguous markets, discovering user-specific needs, and taking calculated risks to create novel applications that empower companies to make smarter business decisions.

But whether it’s implementing low level machine learning algorithms or developing a product-centric roadmap, one trait essential to my success has remained the same. With technology rapidly evolving, critical to staying relevant in any role is the continuous pursuit of knowledge. Career and life development is heavily influenced by one’s desire to learn, or lack thereof. At Watson, I am encouraged to perpetually pursue new ideas, trending research topics, and attend tech conferences to expand my repertoire of intellectual capital.

We, at Watson, have abstracted the complex machine learning away, empowering developers with APIs for more than 15 cognitive services publicly available on the Watson Developer Cloud. The widespread availability of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms is fueling the rate at which novel applications are being developed. As a result, the future of this cognitive era will help solve even the most difficult problems. For the first time in human history, discovering an alternative to fossil fuels to halt global warming, synthesizing an effective drug to fight cancer, and personalizing education for the masses are achievable.

Behind the creative discovery, design, and development of each innovative technology lies a cross-functional collaboration between experts and enthusiasts passionate for a change. Continuously learning, inspiring ideas, sharing expertise, and connecting with peers is essential for keeping up with, and defining, the rapidly evolving world of technology. The Watson Developer Conference is an event dedicated to just that, with opportunities to:

  • Build and put your bot to the (Turing) test at the Watson bot competition to show off your skills to all the natural language processing experts in attendance.
  • Attend numerous flash talks by industry leaders as they present concrete examples of AI in the real world, followed by immediate office hours to answer all your questions.
  • Take a hands-on lab to learn Watson API basics from the ground up or become one of the first to be certified as a Watson Application Developer to increase your experience for your next big app.
  • Or expand your professional network as you kick back and enjoy some local brew, tasty fare, and watch bots go head-to-head while listening to live music.

Engineers, product managers, and technology enthusiasts, like you and I, will have the opportunity to discover new content, think fast, rapidly prototype, build agile tech, connect with industry experts from across the globe, and influence the future of this cognitive era, together.

In a day and age where data represents our most abundant resource, we as technologists are responsible for the continuous advancement, exploration, and discovery of how we can leverage this information to change the world. The collaboration of humans and machines will enable us to harness the rapid rate and complexity at which data is created. Join me in the continuous pursuit of knowledge at the Watson Developer Conference.

Let’s uncover patterns, opportunities, and new ideas that would not be possible without the help of artificially intelligent technologies. I look forward to paving the next generation of cognitive applications, a collaboration of mankind and machine, with you at the Watson Developer Conference.

Follow me @djreah for my personal updates about Watson DevCon and my latest tech & product endeavors! Want to just say hi? email

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