Cognitive computing isn’t exactly new. Or, at least the idea of it isn’t. Anyone who watched Star Wars remembers a world full of robots that could talk and interact with humans just as easily as people could communicate with each other. Of course, we’ve been waiting for sentient computers – not to mention flying cars – for a long time, but at this year’s World of Watson event in Las Vegas I finally got the sense that the future might finally be now. That’s because cognitive computing is making its way out of the theoretical world to become part of what cyberpunk writers call “meatspace.”
We all know that when a conversation falters, talking about the weather can cover the awkward pauses. Well this week I actually had a number of interesting conversations about the weather. Yes, Las Vegas had a rare rainstorm this week, but the real buzz was inside the conference. That’s where visitors to the Cognitive Concourse could see how Watson plays a critical role in saving lives and property by using predictive analytics and machine learning. Not only does this improve the accuracy of climate-related predictions, but Watson also allows meteorologists to make forecasts far earlier than traditional models allow.
And speaking of imagining, last night Rocket Software had the honor of hosting the Imagine Dragons as the featured entertainment at the World of Watson event. We were joined by several thousand other IBMers, customers, and partners for a great night of music. So even though I just got home to Austin, I can still hear their songs bouncing around in my head…and I’m still thinking about what Watson is doing in the world today – and what the future will bring.