Scientists, tech-buffs and sci-fi movie makers share a cherished dream of an intelligent pocket-sized digital assistant interacting with the people, helping them to organize their lives and getting things sorted for them. Like many other scientific dreams, the passion to create a digital assistant seems a distant future. However, that is not so anymore. IBM has come up with Watson, a cognitive system, which can store vast amount of information, learn, analyze and interact with people in the most natural way.
Many people have an impression that Watson is a mammoth super computer that can take up an entire room. But, the reality is quite different. Very soon, you will have the power of Watson at your palm-top. The computing technology of Watson has been squeezed so that it can fit into a really small space and because of the cloud, the technology can be accessed from your tablets or smartphones whenever and where you want it.
Primarily, Watson will be accessible through emails, web chats, SMS and smartphone apps. The voice recognition facility will be rolled out later.
What is the big deal about Watson?
In this new era of computing, the apps and systems have to do something more than just responding to the human instructions. They are expected to relate with the humans. IBM’s Watson has the unique strength that can transform industries and allow businesses create value in new ways.
Watson is not the only cognitive computing system out in the market, but its futuristic features make it distinct from such other devices. According to IBM, Watson uses advanced data analysis and computing functions which make it different from other similar advanced devices already in vogue. The natural language processing feature present in Watson analyzes “unstructured data” which incorporates about 90% of the world’s information and is able to comprehend the complexities of human language.
Watson has the capability to hypothesize and evaluate varied amounts of data using the advanced analytics. It can also employ learning algorithm to get smarter in every step of the analytical process. At last, it can be integrated with the cloud computing system. All these features have made Watson a truly advanced system.
Watson used in different fields
The power of Watson is astonishing. It can be put to infinite uses in different sectors. It has a capacity to boost human intelligence and helps to make critical decisions that may reshape any industries- health, banking, travel or retail. Actually, it provides professionals additional depth of knowledge that they can only think of. Here are some scenarios that demonstrate how Watson can benefit the users from different sectors:
Almost two years ago, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has adapted IBM’s Watson, with a view, that it will assist doctors to provide the best cancer treatment. The system draws wealth of medical information and immediately come up with treatment suggestions based on these evidences.
The physicians may demonstrate the symptoms and other related factors to the system. Then, Watson scours the patient’s data to find out relevant information regarding family history, medications and other existing conditions. It combines the findings with the information to come up with treatment guidelines, notes for doctors and other medical professionals, electronic medical record and clinical studies. Watson can even provide confidence ratings for each treatment options. Initially, Watson decided to focus on healthcare sector solely. But, soon the thought was changed and it opened door for various other domains.
Nowadays, customers expect personalized services from the companies. They anticipate that the retailers must know who they are, how to connect with them and exceed their expectations in minimum time. The digital customers, who contact a company via social media, like to receive the response of their queries within minutes. Retail merchants can implement Watson to interact with individual customers. In plain English, it will convey answers to their questions.
Work is going on so that Watson can continuously communicate with the customers so that they can make informed buying decisions. With Watson Cloud API, the users can search their shopping needs in web and it will keep track of things. While this may be a familiar feature, what is surprising is the Watson’s ability to track your current location and provide you with competitive rates for products that you want in several outlets in your vicinity. It will alert you if you cross a certain store that has the item you are looking for.
Modern companies spend around billions of dollars in research and development. For that they have to wade through lots of information. Watson may help researchers collect information, combine insights and stay updated on recent findings. It may also help to share the information with colleagues.
Many banks are planning to deploy Watson to suggest people the kind of insurance cover they should possess. The customers no longer have to fill a long form providing all the financial details. They can sit down with the super computer in a question answer session and it will correlate with the client’s financial picture with the bank’s financial products.
IBM is relentlessly trying to find new applications of Watson and we are sure that the super computers loaded with host of features will fit into many other industries solving the real world problems. It can be expected that Watson will bring in radical changes in the industrial sector.