Imagine a computer that answers questions and responds with a precise, factual answer, a computer that learns, reasons and helps us to make better decisions. Well, believe it or not, that technology actually exists.
Making Sense team is driven by the latest innovations and the most amazing new technologies. Today we bring you all you need to know about Watson, an incredible super machine created by IBM. Watson is an invention that will revolutionise the way we relate with computers and also how they “think”.
IBM Watson– named for IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson- is a supercomputer system that defines a new era of technology. This amazing computer combines artificial intelligence and sophisticated analytical software for optimal performance as a “question answering” machine.
Watson is able to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence, processing information similar to how people think. This is very helpful for organizations to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data.
We can say with certainty that Watson technology is one of the most relevant inventions in IBM’s history and is a turning point in the evolution of Information Technology. Together with mobile, social and big data analytics technologies, it’s capable of transforming industries and improving the performance of the professionals working in them. It is programmed not only to solve problems but also to learn how to solve them.
How does Watson work?
When you ask a question, what Watson does is rely on hypothesis generation and evaluation and then it rapidly parses relevant evidence and evaluates responses from disparate data.
What Watson does is to look at the whole question and then groups words together. Then, it searches for any statistically related phrases. It will then simultaneously use thousands of language analysis algorithms to sift through its database of human knowledge to find the correct answer, which is an extraordinarily complex field of artificial intelligence.
This supercomputer has access to 90 servers with a combined data store of over 200 million pages of vast information, which it processes against six million logic rules.
Watson has the ability to understand not only natural language but also the human style communication; the ability to generate and evaluate evidence-based hypothesis and also, to adapt and learn from interaction, outcomes and training.
IBM Research team says Watson is smarter in three ways:
- By being taught by its users
- By learning from prior interactions
- By being presented with new information
Human vs Technology
In order to prove this new technology can outperform humans, IBM team came up with a great idea, to create an special Jeopardy-IBM challenge.
In 2011, Watson defeated Brad Rutter and Ken Jenning in a game of Jeopardy! Challenge. This quiz show is known for its tricky and complex questions, and it’s considered America’s favourite quiz show.
To be the victor, Watson had to answer different questions in every nuance of natural language, including slangs, synonyms and homonyms.
The only information Watson had access to during the show, was what it had amassed through years of learning and interaction from a large set of unstructured knowledge. Watson also was not directly connected to the internet for the match, instead, it compared possible answers by ranking its confidence in their accuracy and then responding accordingly.
During this show, people had the opportunity to see first hand how Watson is able to do much more than deliver calculations and documents. They were able to see how it could actually answer verbal questions asked by humans, which is exactly what makes this machine more unique than any that has come before.
By winning the Jeopardy challenge, Watson not only helped IBM demonstrate how technology can think like a human, but it also earned the company a $1 million top prize, which was later donated to charity.
Solutions for the future
Technology is today’s solution for many of the problems we have nowadays. Watson changes the paradigm on how we work and interact with computers, and in a near future without a doubt will completely transform many industries.
Thanks to this huge and innovative technology, developers can solve highly complex problems, business leaders can ask expanded questions, and many researchers can accomplish goals that previous generations couldn’t possibly even dream of. People can understand more and use the data that surrounds them to make better decisions.
Watson has the ability to help many industries:
- Healthcare: transforming healthcare research, how medical students learn and how payments are processed.
- Finance: tackling data-intensive challenges across the financial sector, including banking, financial planning and investing.
- Retail: analyzing massive amounts of data, Watson can help retailers reinvent their decision-making processes around pricing and purchasing, among other things.
- Public sector: improving decision-making processes by employing capabilities as predictive and content analytics, decision-management, planning, information integration and data management.
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