While Apple’s Siri may be the most charming implementation of cognitive computing technology so far, the most feature-rich and the most promising project – Sorry, Siri – is IBM Watson, an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions in a natural, not programming language. Watson increases human intelligence and provides an enriching experience, contributing to every business and every aspect of life.
IBM is currently cooperating with several companies in creating applications in the fields of healthcare, retail commerce, and the finance sector. Here is an overview of some of the possibilities the Watson technology can provide businesses and details about Azoft’s cognitive computing project prepared for the Watson Mobile Development Challenge.
What is Watson?
"If I think of a Watson use case, or ‘what is a use case Watson is good at’, what I think of are tasks that a human takes an enormous time to do […] when someone has to spend a tremendous amount of time looking for information, and Watson can augment their ability or replace their need to do that, it’s a great use case for Watson."
Ray Chancey, Chief Architect at Watson Labs
Watson is a computer system with conversational skills that understands the world just like human beings do, and which learns from experience. Watson is not the ultimate search tool but unlike search tools based on matching a query with data in a database, Watson answers questions – receives data in natural language, understands implications, generates hypotheses, finds evidence, merges and ranks hypotheses, and gives answers.
How Watson enhances businesses
From healthcare to retail businesses and big data analytics, IBM Watson helps companies in many sectors to improve the efficiency of their business workflow, enhance the quality of decisions, increase revenue, etc.
IBM Watson: Healthcare
Did you know that the amount of medical data is doubling every five years? Structuring and analyzing it almost becomes a mission impossible for humans, but not for Watson. Using clinical research and lab results, along with physicians' notes and reports, Watson helps medical specialists to improve healthcare decisions and find new, more effective treatment options for many diseases, including cancer.
Watson apps are successfully used in the demanding financial services sector, including in banking, financial forecasting and investment.
Retailers who use Watson obtain a considerable competitive advantage and increased customer loyalty because they do not rely on business instincts and intuition alone, but can use insight obtained from effectively analysed unstructured customer data. Besides being capable of understanding and answering human questions, Watson’s budget-friendly solutions can act for companies in social networks, forums, and blogs.
How Watson enhances life: Azoft’s project
Communication matters, and that’s what we strongly believe here at Azoft. That’s also why we’ve chosen this area to compete in the Watson Mobile Development Challenge. The essence of our project is to give people an opportunity to talk to outstanding personalities, such as superstars, scientists, politicians who are normally out of reach – dead or alive.
Using available public sources, such as social network accounts, publications, interviews, articles, and blog posts, the Azoft team has created digital alter idems of intelligent and charismatic persons with whom wFriend users can carry out a conversation. Our app understands users’ questions and selects appropriate meaningful responses. Users can ask Albert Einstein about the meaning of life, complain to Sigmund Freud about family issues or discuss domestic policy with Barack Obama.
wFriend requires authentication through a Facebook or Twitter account and uses the information retrieved, such as age, gender, education, etc., to adjust Watson's response.
A long way to go
wFriend is our first step into the sphere of cognitive computing. We see our app’s mission as that of offering people greater freedom to communicate, a feeling of real-time contact, emotional support and inspiration from amazing people. We plan next to contribute to other spheres of life and business with solutions for Watson. We’re pleased to share our new projects with you.
Video credits: IBM, Azoft