Cognitive Computing

The Promise of Cognitive Cities

Imagine a city in which cognitive systems – tools to gather and analyze massive amounts of data from such sources as embedded street sensors, traffic cameras power grid usage indicators – will augment human capabilities to aid decision making. In this type of Smarter City, municipal authorities will be able to improve traffic flow, entrepreneurs will be better able to understand and mitigate risk, and ordinary citizens will be able to interact with (and benefit from) their cities as never before.


Imagine also that cognitive technologies like those in the IBM Watson system that won on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! will enable new levels of sophistication and effective service from civic organizations, nonprofits and skilled volunteers – not to mention disaster preparation and recovery. These are just some of the promises of cognitive cities.

It may sound like science fiction, but the movement already has begun. Read my recent Forbes article “New Tech Will Change the Way Cities and Businesses Solve Problems” for a deeper explanation of how cognitive systems will transform life in the world’s smarter cities. Then check out the references below to see what mayors and other city leaders are saying about how IBM technology and expertise is making their cities smarter…today.

Katharine Frase, Ph.D., is Chief Technology Officer of IBM Smarter Cities.

Related Resources:

Learn more about cognitive systems. Download a free chapter from Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing (forthcoming)

Find out more about the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge

Read what mayors are saying about the Smarter Cities Challenge program

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