Understandably, speculation about the commercial future of IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is rife.
Here are a few of the confirmed and speculative applications for Watson.
Healthcare: “[IBM] will collaborate with Columbia University and the University of Maryland to create a physician’s assistant service that will allow doctors to query a cybernetic assistant. The company also plans to work with Nuance Communications Inc. to add voice recognition to the physician’s assistant, possibly making the service available in as little as 18 months.”
Retail: “IBM executives also said they are in discussions with a major consumer electronics retailer to develop a version of Watson…that would be able to interact with consumers on a variety of subjects like buying decisions and technical support.”
Customer Support: “…experts speaking about Watson in a series of videos on IBM’s website note that the technology is almost certain to find a home in tech-support call centers. Instead of yelling at a human for not being able to understand why your gadget doesn’t work, Watson will coolly and accurately explain what’s wrong so you can fix it and be on your way.”
Financial Services: “The videos also make clear that the financial services industry is keen to put Watson to use. Just as the machine was able to search through a massive database to come up with the right answer to trivia questions on “Jeopardy!,” researchers imagine Watson being able to sift through piles of financial data to spot the next big thing, potentially more efficiently than highly paid Wall Street analysts.”
National Security: Darren Hayes, New York’s Pace University, “The focus (on homeland security) has been on information gathering — license plates, credit card transactions, Internet activity, flight manifests, telephone records, bank transactions, and so on — for millions of people. Synthesizing those terabytes of information is tremendously challenging,”
Check out the IBM Watson website to find out a series of videos covering what Watson is, how it (he?) was built and expert views from the academic and industrial worlds.