Era of Cognitive Systems

August 1st, 2013 : By Mandira Hegde :


Each year, IBM picks a new innovation it believes has the most potential to change the world. Most recently, it selected cognitive computers, predicting they will emerge over the next five years. Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing — to be published later this year with the first chapter available here — describes how cognitive systems will help people and organizations make better decisions and potentially transform society.

According to IBM, we’ve been in the programmable computing era of information technology for the last 40-50 years. The software programs we currently use are programmed by humans to perform logical sequences of steps to rapidly complete tasks. In contrast, cognitive computers, modeled on the human brain, will be designed to draw inferences from large amount of data, learn from their interactions with humans and data, and program themselves to perform new tasks.

Our last few posts have discussed and redefined autonomy in the context of autonomous systems. The following excerpt from IBM’s forthcoming book shows how Discovery Machine’s definition of autonomy is accommodated within IBM’s prognostication of a cognitive computing era:

… the goal is not to replicate human brains or replace human thinking with machine thinking. Rather, in the era of cognitive systems, humans and machines will collaborate to produce better results, each bringing its own skills to the partnership. … The core attribute of the partnership is to improve decisions and outcomes for the user. Cognitive systems will learn, adapt, hypothesize, and recommend in real time. To be effective, they must be able to deliver consumable, user-friendly content that communicates their insights, recommendations, and supporting evidence. In addition, these systems must be capable of continuous interaction in complex, ambiguous, and uncertain situations. They must act as our partners to solve problems and define appropriate actions, engendering trust in their capabilities and assertions.”

For more information on Discovery Machine’s concept of autonomy and how autonomy can be effectively leveraged for simulated training, register for our free webinar to be held next Wednesday, August 7th from 11:00AM to 12:00PM EDT.

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