When IBM’s Watson defeated the previous human champions on the jeopardy show, it was the beginning of new Cognitive computing era. This new era of computing changes how humans and computers interact.
Cognitive systems will understand the world in the way that humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Cognitive computing will help human experts to make better decisions.
According to IBM “growth is accelerating as more of the world’s activity is expressed digitally. Not only is it increasing in volume, but also in speed, variety and uncertainty. Most data now comes in unstructured forms such as video, images, symbols and natural language – a new computing model is needed in order for businesses to process and make sense of it, and enhance and extend the expertise of humans. Rather than being programmed to anticipate every possible answer or action needed to perform a function or set of tasks, cognitive computing systems are trained using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to sense, predict, infer and, in some ways, think”.
Cognitive computers are fundamentally different from traditional computers. Traditional computers are built around a central processing unit (CPU) whereas Cognitive computers are built to analyse information and draw insights from it. Traditional computers are designed to perform quick calculations and are programmed by humans to perform specific tasks, whereas cognitive computers are capable of learning from their interactions and continuously reprogramming themselves.
BIG Data, Artificial Intelligence and Interfaces are the three foundational technologies driving progress in the field of cognitive computing.
- BIG Data
- In recent times, there has been a huge growth of data and that forms the vast amounts of intelligence for the cognitive computing. The volume of data creates the potential for people to understand the environment around us with depth and clarity that was not possible before. BIG data is a vast resource that helps machines to think and interact like humans.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning
- Using this vastly increasing BIG data and by applying deep analytics, cognitive computers are able to provide solutions to complex problems. To help us think better, cognitive computers need the humanlike characteristics – learning, adapting, interacting and some form of understanding, and this need is enabled by the ever emerging field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
- Human / Machine Interface:
- Humans and machines interact with each other using natural processing language and other sensors that aid in seeing and hearing each other. Cognitive computing will result in intelligent collaboration between humans and the machine. The idea is not to replace the human thinking with machine thinking, but to complement each other’s best suits.
While traditional computing applications involved programming by humans, cognitive systems will learn from their interactions with humans and draw inferences from vast amounts of data captured from sensor networks and other sources.
Cognitive computing has been already making progress in the following areas.
- Sales & Marketing
There are now APIs platforms available in the cloud that programmers can use to write their own Cognitive applications. IBM’s Watson developers cloud is one such example.
According to a news article in gigaom, applications build around Watson cloud platform are scheduled for release in 2014 and include applications like a personal health assistant and a personal shopper, you can guess what these apps are supposed to do.
Other Cognitive platforms include Expect Labs’ MindMeld APIs, AlchemyAPI’s natural-language processing and computer vision services, and Jetpac’s DeepBelief neural network SDK for object recognition.
We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. Scientists and engineers are pushing the boundaries of science and technology with the goal of creating machines that sense, learn, reason and interact with people in new ways. Cognitive systems will help people and organizations penetrate complexity and make better decisions—potentially transforming business and society.
Author of the book on “smart machines” says, “In the programmable-computing era, people have to adapt to the way computers work. In the cognitive era, computers will adapt to people.”, and that is very profound!
Jeopardy challenge pitted man against the machine, sky will the limit when man and the machine will work together.