Cognitive computing has taken the tech industry by storm and has become the new buzzword among entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts. Based on the basic premise of stimulating the human thought process, the applications and advantages of cognitive computing are a step beyond the conventional AI systems. According to David Kenny, General Manager, IBM Watson – the most advanced cognitive computing framework, "AI can only be as smart as the people teaching it." The same is not true for the latest cognitive revolution. Cognitive computing process uses a blend of artificial intelligence, neural networks, machine learning, natural language processing, sentiment analysis and contextual awareness to solve day-to-day problems just like humans.
Human thinking is beyond imagination. Can a computer develop such ability to think and reason without human intervention? This is something programming experts at IBM Watson are trying to achieve. Their goal is to simulate human thought process in a computerized model. The result is cognitive computing – a combination of cognitive science and computer science.
Disruption ahead: Deloitte's point of view on IBM Watson8 9. What makes Watson unique In technical terms, IBM Watson is an advanced open-domain question answering (QA) system with deep natural language processing (NLP) capabilities. At this point, the Watson Software as a Service (SaaS) platform is most effectively used to sift through massive amounts of text--documents, emails, social posts, and more--to answer questions in real time. Watson accepts questions posed by the user in natural language and provides the user with a response (or a set of responses) by generating and evaluating various hypotheses around different interpretations of the question and possible answers to it. Unlike keyword-based search engines, which simply retrieve relevant documents, Watson gleans context from the question to provide the user with precise and relevant answers, along with confidence ratings and supporting evidence. Its learning capabilities allow Watson to adapt and improve hypothesis generation and evaluation processes over time through interactions with users. Developers and other users can improve the accuracy of responses by "training" Watson. IBM is also continuing to expand Watson's capabilities to incorporate visualization, reasoning, ability to relate to users, and deeper exploration to gain a broader understanding of the information content. Watson recently launched a new platform service that has the ability to ingest and interpret still and video images, which is another significant type of unstructured data.
We are witness to the most important and exciting technology shift in more than a generation – the dawn of the cognitive computing era. Cognitive systems, which are most fully realized in IBM's Watson, can ingest and learn from a wide variety of data, reason over it, and then interact with people in ways that are more natural to us. Cognitive technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), augment human capabilities to help people make better decisions. What search is to simple information retrieval, cognitive computing is to advanced decision making. And unlike previous technological shifts that tended to level the playing field, these emerging AI technologies are shaping up to provide true competitive advantage to those organizations that already have intellectual advantages – in particular, robust strategies for accessing data from a variety of proprietary, third-party and public sources.
Artificial intelligence is advancing rapidly and poised to change the status quo in any number of industries, including healthcare. A recent report by Frost & Sullivan predicts the AI market in healthcare will reach 6 billion by 2021, up from just 600 million two years ago. With the shift to a value-based reimbursement model, ushered in with the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and providers are looking for new ways to increase efficiencies and improve patient outcomes. Cognitive solutions such as IBM's Watson system can assess huge amounts of patient data, provide guidance and decision support, and improve clinical workflow. The goal is to support the physician, not replace him or her, said Anil Jain, vice president of IBM's Watson Health and an internist and medical informatics specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.