Cognitive Computing

How to Architect a Cognitive Future for Business

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Erewhon (1872). Metropolis (1927). The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Star Wars (1977). War Games (1983). The Terminator (1984). Short Circuit (1986). A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). I, Robot (2004). WALL-E (2008). Ex Machina (2015).

Many of these titles probably sound familiar to you.

For a long time now, the concept of artificial intelligence has provided the masses with novels and blockbuster movies of science fiction, drama, comedy, and even unexpected stories of friendship. Hollywood and all of its fans have enjoyed these stories over the years – appreciating them for what they are: Entertainment.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) has a very different meaning. In fact, as AI has moved from the silver screen to the screens of modern computers used by virtually every segment of society, it has a remarkably different purpose.

Just ask the world’s most influential business leaders.

At recode’s Code Conference earlier this month, leaders from Ford, Cisco, eBay, Facebook, Google, IBM and others all shared their excitement about the potential of AI to redefine their businesses, their industries, and their customers.

Whether referred to as AI, machine learning, or cognitive systems, such as IBM Watson, a growing cadre of business leaders is embracing this opportunity head on.

That’s because their consumers are using cognitive applications on a daily basis – through their phones, in their cars, with their doctors, banks, schools, and more. All of this consumer engagement is creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. And thanks to IT infrastructures designed for cognitive workloads – that can understand, reason, and learn from all this data – organizations and entire industries are transforming and reaping the benefits.

What’s important to remember is that this sci-fi-turned-reality-show of cognitive computing cannot happen without the underlying systems on which the APIs, software, and services run. For this very reason, today’s leading CIOs are thinking differently about their IT infrastructure.

1) They are designing their infrastructures for cognitive business. The rate and pace of innovation is happening at lightening speed. An idea born in the morning can disrupt an entire industry by evening.

An IT infrastructure that is designed for cognitive business is super-fast. It can give meaning to unstructured data in milliseconds. This might be an IT infrastructure built on servers with in-transaction analytics, or with flash storage, or hardware accelerators. This is how businesses act at the speed of thought.

2) CIOs are taking advantage of collaborative innovation to boost their organizational intelligence and accelerate technology breakthroughs. With technology changing as quickly as it does, building an open architecture and engaging in open ecosystems allow for perpetual motion and the ability to remain competitive.

There are so many open ecosystems to pursue depending on organizational needs, including Blockchain, Docker, Linux, and OpenPOWER, to name a few. There is no longer room for a one-size-fits-all-infrastructure approach; open and collaborative innovation is the path forward.

3) They are delivering this cognitive capability through a hybrid cloud platform. Today’s disruptive businesses are based on harnessing data and delivering via the cloud. Companies need the right IT infrastructure that maps to their economic and innovation requirements to achieve differentiation.

IT leaders who are “in the know” understand that servers and storage are no longer inanimate objects; along with the right skills and expertise, these technologies are now able to understand, reason and learn. Leaders who invest in IT infrastructures for cognitive workloads are investing in the future. They are writing new “blockbusters” of their own for their industries.

Senior Vice President, IBM Systems

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