Why will cognitive computing make you question everything?
14 Sep 2017

Why will cognitive computing make you question everything?

What is cognitive computing and what does have with IBM Watson?

14 Sep 2017

Here is a short introduction to cognitive computing:

  1. What is cognitive computing and what does it have to do with IBM Watson?
  2. How cognitive computing work?
  3. What is IBM Watson?
  4. How does work IBM Watson?
  5. Future of cognitive computing

What is cognitive computing?

Cognitive computing is the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model and it involves self-learning systems that use:

  • Data mining
  • Pattern recognition
  • Natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.

The purpose is to create automated IT systems that are capable of solving problems without requiring human assistance.

How cognitive computing works?

It works by using machine learning algorithms. Such system continually acquires knowledge from the data fed into them by mining data for information.

The systems refine the way they look for patterns and as well as the way they process data so they become capable of anticipating new problems and modeling possible solutions.

Cognitive computing is used in much artificial intelligence (AI) applications, including expert systems, natural language programming, neural networks, robotics and virtual reality. The term cognitive computing is closely associated with IBM’s cognitive computer system, Watson.

What is IBM Watson?

Watson is an IBM (International Business Machine) supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and sophisticated analytical software for optimal performance as a “question answering” machine. 

How does IBM Watson work?

The Watson supercomputer processes at a rate of 80 teraflops (trillion floating-point operations per second). To replicate (or surpass) a high-functioning human’s ability to answer questions. Watson accesses 90 servers with a combined data store of over 200 million pages of information, which it processes against six million logic rules.

Applications for the Watson’s underlying cognitive computing technology are almost endless. Because the device can perform text mining and complex analytics on huge volumes of unstructured data, it can support a search engine or an expert system with capabilities far superior to any previously existing. 

The future of Cognitive Computing

In this section of a blog, we will try to explain this excellent video of the future of cognitive computing, in case you don’t have 30 min time to watch, but if you do – we definitely recommend to watch it out!

 “What is Watson worth?  What is the market value of Watson?
-It is the price of not knowing.”

Cognitive computing is not trying to replicate what the human brain does. Cognitive computing is a system that can handle massive amounts of unstructured data. It will be inspired by the human brain but will never be a like a “human brain”.

Watson does not try to do, what previous AI researchers had done, and that is to mimic the brain – they were doing something simple; build a system that deals with the massive amount of data, because our human intelligence was not scaling the way data is scaling.

There is new Moore’s Law in the data space which says:

“Unstructured data – “dark data” – accounts for 80% of all data generated today.”

Most of that data is “dark” – we cannot make sense of that data. It is noisy or formats that cannot be read by traditional systems. Furthermore, the amount of dark data is expected to grow to over 93% by 2020.

How do we get the synergy with man and machine?

“We took Watson, which was one system, and brought it to IBM Cloud. We decomposed one system (Q&A) to individual services that can be composed to create meaningful solutions.”

This system effectively had five parts at the time:

  • Machine Learning
  • Question Analysis
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Feature Engineering
  • Ontology Analysis

We (IBM) have built out a suite of services that enable you to
make your own mini-Watson for a solution to your problem. We decided to make it cloud based and compostable for all industries.

What is the essence of cognitive?

Cognitive systems must learn at scale.

  • Learning at scale in the data
  • Learning at scale for your solution/business
  • Reasoning with a goal to take an action

Cognitive systems interact with humans – it is the interaction of man and machine that will produce capabilities going forward; Not just about automating systems.


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