Mr. Watson, please take over!


Mr. Watson, please take over!

Allow me to introduce myself: Watson, IBM Watson. Watson is a computer program developed by IBM that combines ambitious analysis software with artificial intelligence. Some six years ago Watson had his first appearance on the Quiz-Show “Jeopardy!”. Much has happened since then. The playing phase is over and the system has grown out of its infancy. By now it has emerged to an individual ecosystem with numerous application examples and is being implemented into the business operation of more and more companies. Goal of the Watson project is to develop a sophisticated semantical search engine, able to perceive the meaning behind natural language and to locate relevant passages and facts from a large database.

And what does that have to do with Nunatak? We took a look behind the scenes at IBM Watson IoT Headquarters and discussed concrete areas of application for Watson with the people responsible. Chat bots in customer service are an obvious application and are already in use by large corporations like Lufthansa. The text processing abilities of Watson are utilized by Versicherungskammer Bayern to categorize written customer enquiries and priorities them by their emotional mood. But efficiency improvements in customer service are only the beginning. Watson could perspectively assist with complex decisions, especially if they have to be made under great time pressure – for example, in clinical diagnostics.

Many of the new skills will not be explicitly programmed, but instead independently learned by the systems from their interactions and experiences with their respective environments. Among other things, this is based on neuronal networks, machine learning, text analysis tools and voice recognition. Watson can also process unstructured data like texts, pictures or multimedia. Therefore, Watson is well ahead of normal computer systems since this unstructured data makes up 80 percent of all information of the web.

Gazing in a crystal ball shows how cognitive computing will surely be used in every business sector in ten years und will consequently concern all areas of our life. Artificial intelligence will definitely enhance human abilities in some areas and outperform them and therefore potentially replace them in others.