AI/Watson

The era of exponential impact

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Someday, I want to tell my grandchildren about the work I’m doing now. I want to tell them that I was on a team that helped pioneer the cognitive era. Because I think that creating the mind—creating intelligence—might be the ultimate invention.

For me, that’s the Holy Grail. And I am competitive. When I played on the US National Cricket Team, I loved the rush of a close competition that pushed the team to its highest potential. Now, I see artificial intelligence as a fast-paced field where my team needs to perform with strategy, timing and skill.

The end of “if-then-else”

To win, we have to show results.

The human mind is hard to imitate, and it can also be hard to convince. When I tell people about the power of IBM Watson cognitive technology, they want to see proof at every step. As the GM of IIoT at SparkCognition, I am used to meeting that challenge. SparkCognition is an IBM Business Partner, and I’ve seen what cognitive technology can do in many industries.

For instance, I speak with a lot of companies about cybersecurity. Every day, there are more than 45,000 new threats that have never been seen before. Many existing products use traditional programming methods to try to keep up, but these products require a lot of time and assistance from security experts. SparkCognition looked at security threats that took a person using traditional tools nine hours to research and resolve. I can show that a cognitive security tool reaches that same resolution in nine seconds or less.

I also speak with a lot of industrial clients. When I approached one of the world’s largest pump and valve manufacturers, the company showed me that they had used an understanding of pump characteristics to program a system which could predict a pump’s failure six hours in advance. We took the same dataset and, without knowing anything about pumps, we built a cognitive system that extended their six-hour warning to six days.

This isn’t an incremental game. It’s extending capabilities by 20 times, 30 times, 100 times. That’s the proof that this is the moment for cognitive—for people to move beyond traditional programming. As SparkCognition’s CEO and Founder, Amir Husain says, “The era of ‘if-then-else’ is over.”

Exponential productivity

From a historical perspective, we saw an exponential jump in productivity when the industrial revolution augmented human strength.

Now, we’re augmenting the human mind. The human mind is really good at processing unstructured information, like when we read a passage and understand the meaning. That is the most exciting and difficult challenge. That’s what cognitive technology truly is.

That’s what excites me, and it’s where our team wants to spend its time. We use IBM Power Systems servers and IBM Bluemix cloud to help us go to market, so that our strategy, timing and skill can focus on what counts for us. We need to create new algorithms that will help deliver results, differentiate our solutions and define the cognitive era.

The era of “if-then-else” can’t keep up with the speed of technology today. We’re in a new era, driven by capabilities that adapt to meet new challenges, and I am thrilled to be on a team of pioneers.

  

For more, watch the IBM interview below with SparkCognition’s Usman Shuja:

GM of IIoT, SparkCognition

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