Sebastian Thrun: Of course, you mean that ironically – but the answer is actually surprisingly simple. Human beings are the center of our world. Creativity and value systems are what make us human. And for all of us, our fellow humans are the most important elements of our life. It always revolves around the same thing: giving human beings super-human powers.
Recently, H&R Block announced that it is applying IBM Watson machine learning computing power to tax code. The intent is not to replace its accounting staff. Rather, the technology will help tax professionals deliver better outcomes for customers, and to help those customers to understand how different filing options can impact their tax results. President and CEO Bill Cobb perfectly articulates the argument for augmenting human judgment with technology, "By combining the human expertise, knowledge and judgment of our tax professionals with the cutting-edge cognitive computing power of Watson, we are creating a future where our clients will benefit from an enhanced experience and our tax pros will have the latest technology to help them ensure every deduction and credit is found."
Earlier in this decade, when the hyperscalers and the academics that run with them were building machine learning frameworks to transpose all kinds of data from one format to another – speech to text, text to speech, image to text, video to text, and so on – they were doing so not just for scientific curiosity. They were trying to solve real business problems and addressing the needs of customers using their software. At the same time, IBM was trying to solve a different problem, naming creating a question-answer system that would anthropomorphize the search engine. This effort was known as Project Blue J inside of IBM (not to be confused with the open source BlueJ integrated development environment for Java), was wrapped up into a software stack called DeepQA by IBM. It was this DeepQA stack, which was based on the open source Hadoop unstructured data storage and analytics engine that came out of Yahoo and another project called Apache UIMA, which predates Hadoop by several years and which was designed by IBM database experts in the early 2000s to process unstructured data like text, audio, and video.
Computers that reliably understand human communications have been a staple of fiction going back decades or more. The Enterprise's computer in the 1960s vintage "Star Trek" series is as good an example as any. And truth is, that particular science-fictional ability probably would not have seemed all that remarkable to the typical person of the time. Access billions of pages of text, pictures, and video from a gadget I can fit in my pocket? Play a game with immersive graphics on a huge, high-resolution screen that hangs on the wall?
IBM has launched a unit designed for human resources to better find talent and recruit using artificial intelligence. The company is wrapping its latest HR effort, dubbed IBM Talent & Transformation, which includes select Watson services. According to IBM, its suite of AI tools can help HR become a growth engine to enable digital transformation. AI can be used to revamp workflow, employee engagement, recruitment and retention while providing a more diverse workforce. Also: Red Hat: It's in IBM's best interest to keep us as'Switzerland' Big Blue's Talent & Transformation suite includes a Watson Talent Suite that rolls up behavioral science, AI and psychology and applies it to HR.