Whaaat?

IBM is betting big on Watson’s ability to transform the world of business. It recently opened a $1 billion dollar Watson Headquarters in New York to provide support for entrepreneurs and developers interested in the technology. We’re beginning to see the tech applied to the fields of education, retail, and medicine. If the success of this rollout indicates anything, it’s that Watson is going to be here for a very long time, and if you think your field is somehow immune to disruption from Watson, it’s time to wake up.

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In 2011, you may recall, Watson summarily bested its human competitors on Jeopardy. It was able to accomplish that because it combines three capabilities: natural language processing, hypothesis generation and evaluation, and dynamic learning. No other technology on the market today possesses these combined capabilities. Unlike typical computers, Watson can unlock the vast world of unstructured data that makes up as much as 80 percent of existing information today.

Sales:
Watson’s predictive retail expertise extends into the realms of travel, banking, real estate, and finance. Watson-based technologies are able to replace many of the current services of human travel agents, bank officers, real estate agents, and financial advisors by drawing upon comprehensive knowledge of existing information to provide detailed answers to questions traditionally posed only to fellow humans.

Healthcare:
Even more disruptive is the way Watson is already altering the medical industry. Imagine your ideal human doctor: you know, the one with the top-notch education and impeccable track record who makes it his mission to keep up with the very latest research. As Watson takes over the role of an expert diagnosing diseases and prescribing the most cost effective treatment, the human doctor’s role will change to focus on what humans do best.

At this point, it’s important to understand that there is a science and an art to every profession. Soon, Watson will know the science better than a human. Humans will need to focus on the art of their profession — the creative elements only they can provide.

My 2 cents:

Watson’s been on TV a lot these days, which means it (he?) is quickly moving from an IoT prototype to a tool of the future. Watson is a huge move on IBM’s part after decades away from the innovation spotlight and looks to be en route to truly dismantle practices structured around loose information. The question now isn’t as much “what can you do with Watson” but “who will follow Watson” as we witness the rise of humanized robots.

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