Live from IBM World of Watson: could a cognitive system have written this for me?

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GearsA lot of the talk this week focuses on how AI and cognitive systems can help extend our abilities in healthcare, or factories, or public infrastructure. But these systems also have potential applications for non-physical pursuits. For example, marketing.

In a session I attended yesterday, the speaker noted that marketers only have access to 20% of the data that could help them make more informed decisions. Because of this, it’s harder than most would like to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. The speaker told a personal story of researching baby gear online before the birth of a grandchild. After a search for diapers, he began seeing numerous ads for adult diapers across numerous websites. This was because the ad targeted system was smart enough to combine the age listed in his online profile with the search for diapers and reach what would seem like a logical conclusion, but not smart enough to combine those two items with other things like browsing or search history to realize he was actually an expectant grandfather.

A cognitive system would potentially give marketers the ability to combine the relatively small amount of data available to day with the other 80% of “dark” data. This would make it easier to reach the right targets, lower ad spending, as well prevent companies from annoying customers with offers that they have no interest in.

Going a step further, marketers could potentially increase their productivity exponentially by freeing themselves from all of the manual analysis and reporting they currently get bogged down in, letting the system know what’s important, and then letting it provide the results–as well as suggest opportunities that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. A cognitive system could even scan a company website and sales materials, compare it to high-performing offers and content from competitors, and suggest changes, or even create new content.

Which gets me to the title of this post. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for the past 24 hours, but haven’t had a chance to write it until just now because I needed 30 minutes to actually type it up. What if I could open a Watson-powered app on my phone, narrate my thoughts verbally, and then let the app take over? The time needed to write this post could be cut down to the five minutes it takes me to talk, plus a minute or two for processing, freeing me up to go on to other things. In fact, it’s likely that such a system could even improve upon what I would write myself, inserting keywords to help optimize the posts SEO value, and using the language most suited to my audience.

I’m already getting jealous of my future self…

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Matthew West

Director of Content Marketing at Rocket Software
I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order. Director of Content Marketing here at Rocket.

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