I found last night’s Jeapordy match to be absolutely riveting. Not only was it amazing to see the question answering capabilities of the Watson system, but watching Watson “think” via the answer panel was like being given a window into Watson’s brain, and into the future of how humans and computers will interact.
We often talk about the power of the ecosystem coming together to deliver results for customers that no one portion of the ecosystem could deliver alone. Watson is a great example of two parts of IBM's portion of the ecosystem coming together in a workload optimized system. Though the software behind Watson could have run on virtually any hardware, Watson’s performance and speed could be directly attributed to the software’s ability to exploit the POWER7 processor and systems architecture. In the world outside of the Jeapordy! studio this translates into offering better performance at a lower cost or, more simply put, doing more with less.
With this powerful platform as a base, it isn’t hard to imagine the ways that our ecosystem can offer workload optimized solutions that can quickly take raw information and turn it into insight.
Imagine if citizens could call a phone number and ask a simple question like “what benefits am I eligible for?”
Imagine if legal scholars could rely on a Watson-like system to review vast inventories of legal documents. Not only could the system survey the structured and unstructured data, it could make recommendations and provide supporting evidence for human users to leverage in “collaborating” with the system to uncover answers.
What examples do you see in your industry segments for applications of Watson-like technology?
As an aside, did anyone else find it interesting that Watson didn’t realize that the answer “The Twenties” was the same as the answer “The Nineteen Twenties”? For all of Watson’s sophisticated parsing of language, I was surprised that this one caused it trouble…
I'm looking forward to game 2 tonight.