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Watson: Where to now?
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  ibm100 ibmwatson business_analytics
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Where to now?
I ask that question not only of Watson itself, but of ourselves in the long-running and fascinating relationship between humans and the machines they create. Both questions are inextricably linked, and both have multiple answers. I’ll posit one for each:
First, Watson could go into production quite quickly. Many of its components are currently available and several industries – healthcare and finance, for example – are ideal candidates for first-phase proof-of-concept deployments. Today the New York Times reported IBM execs announcing a collaboration with Columbia University and the University of Maryland to create a doctor's assistant service that will allow doctors to query a cybernetic assistant. IBM also plans to work with Nuance Communications to add voice recognition to the assistant, possibly making the service available in as little as 18 months.
These are good things: as the global economy emerges from the turmoil of the past three years, these industries – not to mention the various functions within them – will be more in need of answers and insights than ever before.
As for the second question, Watson could usher in a new and exciting chapter in the story. Now that the lights have come down on the Jeopardy! set, it’ s no longer man versus machine, but man with machine. The former may have made for entertaining television, but it’s the latter that we must focus on now.
To that end, I invite you to watch the replay of today's TED Talk on the Future of Watson, featuring members of the research team and moderated by Stephen Baker. I'll also invite you to add your voice to our ongoing exchange on LinkedIn. Finally, I'll leave you with a few quotes from the people who put us down this exciting new path. Ours is becoming a Smarter Planet. Watson may bring us there sooner than we think.
“This was a big accomplishment for people.” Dr. David Gondek
“I would have thought that technology like this was years away.” Brad Rutter
"I think we saw something important today.” Ken Jennings
"Wow. This is history." Dr. Jennifer Chu-Carroll
"This is about taking technology to solve problems that people really care about." Dr. David Ferrucci