Cognitive Computing

Corporate Citizenship and Purpose-Driven Transformation

IBM’s technology and talent have the power to help transform governments, institutions, communities and the quality of life for people around the world. We work to improve education, revitalize cities, address the challenges of economic growth, respond to disasters, and develop sustainable strategies for energy use and environmental protection. As part of a tradition that dates to the company’s founding more than 100 years ago, IBM and IBMers contribute innovative solutions to the world’s toughest societal challenges.

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Read the 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report

In our 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report, we detail our efforts to transform communities, support our employees, and engage in responsible corporate governance and practices. Through it all, you’ll see how IBM and IBMers contribute our time, technology and expertise toward making the world a better place.

Selected 2014 highlights:

  • Six students from IBM’s inaugural P-TECH grades 9 to 14 school in Brooklyn, New York entered the school year as high school students, but emerged as college graduates. The six completed their “six-year” P-TECH program two years ahead of schedule – finishing high school and college in just four years. They were just the first of many students from P-TECH schools partnered with IBM and other companies who will graduate early and either enter the workforce or continue their educations prepared for success. Three of the Brooklyn P-TECH six have taken high-paying jobs with IBM, while the remaining three will enter four-year colleges and universities with scholarships this fall.
  • Breakthrough IBM Watson cognitive computing technology already is helping oncologists and other medical professionals make more informed decisions in the fight against disease. But what if we applied IBM Watson to education? That’s the question we asked – and answered – in 2014 with the introduction of Codename: Watson Teacher Advisor. This exciting new tool will serve as a virtual mentor to educators, who will be able to access its power whenever they need it, anonymously and free of charge.
  • Improving the health of women and families was the focus of two significant IBM Corporate Service Corps engagements in 2014. In Ghana, we collaborated with the Ghana Health Service and the Yale School of Medicine to help reduce Ghana’s
    mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to less than 1 percent by 2020. And in Peru,
    we and our partner Becton Dickinson and Company worked with the women’s health nonprofit CerviCusco to more than double the organization’s outreach to rural,
    low-income women.
  • Health-related research was among many humanitarian efforts enabled by IBM World Community Grid in 2014. World Community Grid played an essential role in the Chiba Cancer Center’s breakthrough in childhood cancer research, enabling researchers to isolate seven new drug candidates from a field of three million. And in the fight against the Ebola virus, World Community Grid joined the Outsmart Ebola Together partnership and was the computing power behind the Scripps Research Institute’s accelerated search for a cure.
  • Through more than 500 IBM Impact Grants, we delivered service capabilities to nonprofit organizations around the world – effectively increasing IBM’s agility in identifying, engaging and overcoming thousands of discreet global challenges, while empowering large and small organizations with essential insights and expertise to serve their beneficiaries better.
  • Finally, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge marked 2014 with concrete results in cities in Australia (improving infrastructure and its effectiveness), Ireland (integrating municipally owned solar energy into the existing power grid), Mexico (planning for economic development), the United States (reversing neighborhood decline and increasing tax revenue) and more.

This is just a small sampling of how IBM integrates corporate citizenship into our global business strategy – contributing our most valuable technology and human assets to critical partnerships that enable significant and sustainable change. We are excited to share our vision for a better world, and to illustrate what we’re doing to make that happen. And we welcome your thoughts and ideas about our continuing efforts.

Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation.

Related Resources:

IBM 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report

Responsibility at IBM

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Shannon Jacobs

Well… It’s a little hard to interpret, but it seems like WCG is slightly deprecated these days. Good project, but the Japanese electricity situation is kind of difficult and the priority to reduce our electricity consumption seems to be rather high. I’m still slightly active on WCG.

Let me post a different idea. I was just reminded about the XPrize for adult literacy. I don’t think IBM is interested in the money, but it could be a good use for our Watson technology and I think that a lot of the world’s problems could be addressed by better education built on a foundation of more literacy. Insofar as I’m mostly illiterate in Japanese, I even have personal reason to want to see a powerful solution, and I have a specific idea:

The idea is basically a two-phase game (suitable for smartphones and up). The first phase is focused on vocabulary, and the second phase is about reading. There might be a half-phase beyond that…

In the vocabulary phase, there would be a target word and some definitions to pick from, and an example sentence at the bottom, where it would show the word in use and some candidates for the next word to study, including a marker for the one that the game is about to use. There would also be a readiness indicator for the second phase, but the vocabulary-phase play has three main options: (1) Pick the correct definition, (2) Pick a different next word and then go back to the top and pick a definition, or (3) Switch to the reading phase.

The point of Option (2) is to allow the player to guide the game towards the player’s actual interests, while linking the words from one sentence to the next. All of the sample sentences would be coming from the same target reading passage, and the linkage would make the game resemble a Japanese word game called shiritori.

The point of the readiness indicator is to indicate coverage of the same target reading passage, based on the game’s memory of the words that the player knows. Some player’s might want to wait until the readiness indicator is approaching 100%, while others might prefer the challenge of jumping more quickly. (Actually, the game should collect data to see which is best for the learning outcomes, and can tweak the scoring to encourage each player to use the best strategy.)

The reading phase would present the entire passage. My own preference would be for oral reading to the phone, and reading the passage skillfully would be enough for me, but I think this is a place where the students should have various options. Some might prefer to have the smartphone read the passage. Others might prefer to answer some comprehension questions or join in a discussion about the passage.

By the way, the goal of reading is to read useful stuff, so I think the selection of passages is the real key to making this useful and interesting. Some players might want to study the news or specific kinds of news. Other players might want to read about astrophysics or mystery novels. Fine and dandy. It’s all reading, and literacy is the goal.

Now about that Watson stuff… Mostly I think Watson would be helpful in mapping the vocabulary levels up and down. The original article might be written at a higher level than the student is ready for, but the difficult words can be mapped down to lower words. Ditto for the definitions, where it might be possible to map some of the definition options to iconic pictures for some of the most basic words. (For cross-language study, there should be options to have the definitions in a different language.)

Okay, I’ve definitely gone on rather long, but lots more details–except that this is just a rough idea that should be properly fleshed out by some actual teachers. (Actually, I was a teacher for about 10 years…)

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