Your cognitive future


How next-gen computing changes the way we live and work

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Cognitive computing has arrived

Cognitive computing has the potential to radically redefine everyday life, changing how individuals perform their jobs, interact with others, learn and make decisions. It also represents a new era of computing that will fundamentally alter how we think about, plan for, implement and engage with information technology systems. Successful organizations will identify and prepare to take advantage of opportunities that align with cognitive computing’s emerging capabilities. In doing so, they can learn valuable lessons from cognitive pioneers, including critical success factors and implications for their organizations’ people, processes and policies. In the first report of this two-part series, we explore the evolution of cognitive computing and expectations for its future evolution, as well as forces likely to impact future advancement and adoption rates. In the second report, we explore how organizations can prepare to take advantage of this innovative and exciting capability.

For decades, science fiction visionaries have shared their renditions of intelligent machines and computers that could learn and function as humans. Intelligent machines have since moved beyond the lore of science fiction; today, they are a reality thanks to breakthroughs in cognitive computing. Cognitive computing is here – and this innovative capability is becoming ubiquitous in our everyday lives and fundamentally changing how we perform our jobs, engage and interact with others, learn and make decisions. Pioneering organizations across industries and around the world are already leveraging its capabilities to realize significant business value and help solve some of society’s greatest challenges.

We are entering a new era of computing. Following the programmable and tabulating systems eras, cognitive computing represents a huge leap forward. This new era brings with it fundamental differences in how systems are built and interact with humans.

In the programmable systems era, humans do most of the directing. Traditional programmable systems are fed data and their results are based on processing that is pre-programmed by humans. The cognitive era on the other hand is about thinking itself – how we gather information, access it and make decisions. Cognitive-based systems build knowledge and learn, understand natural language, and reason and interact more naturally with human beings than traditional programmable systems. The term “reasoning” refers to how cognitive systems demonstrate insights that are very similar to those of humans.


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Meet the authors

Jay Bellissimo

Connect with author:


, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation, IBM Global Business Services


Dave Zaharchuk, Research Director, IBM Institute for Business Value

Shanker Ramamurthy, General Manager, Strategy and Market Development for Global Industries, Blockchain, and Industry Platforms

Dr. Sandipan Sarkar

Connect with author:


, Distinguished Engineer - Cognitive Enterprise, Global Business Services



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