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It's the Dawn of the Cognitive Computing Era

... and Data Sits at Its Foundation

Change is happening before our very eyes.

Cognitive computing is no longer a science experiment. We are entering a new realm where humans will thrive, learn and solve problems with augmented intelligence. This distinctive technology makes sense of the vast and frantic pace of new data that the human brain’s capacity can no longer process alone.

Dr. John Kelly III, SVP IBM Cognitive Solutions boldly declared this at the recent World of Watson event, “It’s the beginning of the next era of computing, transforming decision making, transforming the world.”

Several business and education leaders took to the World of Watson keynote stage to share how their organizations are transforming with Watson’s cognitive intelligence:

  • GM and Watson have built OnStar Go into millions of 2017 vehicles, revolutionizing how people drive. First pass features like gas refuel notification and pay from the dash, personal assistant reminders to pick up necessities like prescriptions and favorite coffee order, pay and ready-for-pick up functions are a few ways GM is making life easier for drivers.
  • TEVA Pharmaceuticals, serving 200 million customers everyday, is helping people prevent asthma attacks before they happen. Using Watson Health Cloud, TEVA is combining their patient information with weather, pollution and allergen data to predict the likelihood of an asthma attack and alert people on their smart devices.
  • Staples is using IBM Watson Conversation Service to provide online ordering in Staples Easy Systems for convenient shopping including reordering supplies, tracking payments and chatting with customer service.
  • In the education world, online higher education company Udacity has collaborated with Watson to develop an AI Nanodegree curriculum. And the IBM Foundation has worked with the American Federation of Teachers to offer Watson Teacher Advisor, a personalized set of teaching materials for free to all 3rd grade math teachers in 2017.

Data matters – it is a foundational cognitive component and every company’s competitive advantage.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty believes cognitive computing will be a $2 trillion market in the coming decade. During her keynote she observed that today’s cognitive business stands at $32 billion, up 16 times in the last four years. The point being, cognitive is real - and it’s scaling rapidly. 

From keynotes, to breakouts, to the cognitive concourse, the entire World of Watson experience oozed with real world examples and big idea possibilities from data-infused cognitive learning in the hands of humans. Two themes that were consistently communicated during the event:

  1. Cognitive’s chief purpose is to extend human expertise – and that can be achieved with  “man and machine” iterative learning through a continuous feedback cycle.
  2. Data matters – it is a foundational cognitive component and every company’s competitive advantage.

We are now at an inflection point where, simultaneously, it is impossible for humans to sift through all the data available to make the best decisions, and cognitive systems have exceeded the brain’s capacity to do so. It’s a compelling reason for companies to evolve their data strategy to become their cognitive strategy.

Dun & Bradstreet and IBM Watson are partners whose goal is to explore and develop new Watson solutions for business decisioning across multiple use cases, helping people answer questions and solve business problems.

Watson’s cognitive computing with Dun & Bradstreet’s business ontology will provide context to identify and connect the right set of B2B data in every way the technology can. Instead of drowning in data, or depending on limited sources of data, people will find, analyze, learn and iterate with the best data available that wasn’t previously possible because we couldn’t make all the connections.

Our aim is to help companies understand the known unknown faster with the right data. That’s a giant leap forward. The prospect of what we’ll uncover together is exciting, and quite possibly not yet anticipated. Cognitive computing, data and human decisoning – learning and evolving to make our world better. That is the great promise of the new cognitive era and we each have a part to play.

David Kenny, GM IBM Watson, summed it up very well when he said, "We’re all in the cognitive era and we’ll use data to tackle our greatest challenges."


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