Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Man or Machine?

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We’re only a few short days away from the Watson/Jeopardy matches that will be aired here in the United States starting next Monday.

I’ll point you again to the IBM Watson website, if you’re interested in learning more about how this technology was developed and the approach that IBM’s magician researchers took to make this thing come to life.

The more I hear and learn about it, the more I’m amazed.

Honestly, I don’t know if Watson’s going to win or not.  Even though the matches have already been taped, this is the best kept secret since the revelation in the movie “The Crying Game.”

But what I do know, based on what I’ve learned thus far, the implications of this technology are huge.  I’ve heard senior executives on conference calls inside IBM telling us about the tapings, at which several of our customers were in attendance.

And, after the matches, most all of those customers said “I want a Watson.”

Yeah, you and me both.

I can imagine about 100 different scenarios I could use a Watson for on our Web efforts every day.  Or in identifying influencers in the marketplace.  Or in analyzing search data.  Or a garden variety of other scenarios.

The opportunities for this technology are substantial, and though Watson may not pass “The Turing Test” anytime soon, there will be a garden variety of other scenarios and problem-solving it will be equipped to handle, problems that information technology heretofore was unable to address.

Speaking of the Turing test, check out this deep dive on artificial intelligence in The Atlantic entitled “Mind v. Machine.”

For those of you in the U.S. who wish to learn more about Watson, tape or watch “Nova” tonight on PBS, as it will provide a behind-the-scenes examination of the Deep Q&A technology and the overall systems POWERing Watson.

If you’re not in the U.S. and can’t see “Nova,” check out the IBM/Watson website to do a little research yourself before the airing of next week’s matches.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in seeing yet another in a long line of examples of how IBM is helping institutions around the globe become smarter through predictive analytics, check out this most recent case study with Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, California.

Earlier today, IBM announced that Sequoia Hospital has reduced its mortality rate in cardiac surgeries more than 50 percent through the use of IBM predictive analytics software by reducing risk and offering personalized patient care.

By analyzing a cardiac database of more than 10,000 patients, including demographics, types of surgeries, risk factors and outcomes, IBM predictive analytics informs doctors and recommends crucial pre- and postoperative procedures that reduce complications and extend the length and quality of patients’ lives.

The use of IBM predictive analytics software supports the latest advancement in evidence-based medicine that integrates and analyzes existing information from various sources, including healthcare databases, medical precedents and real-world medical cases.

Combining this information with an individual patient’s condition, medical history and ailments allows Sequoia Hospital doctors to better counsel patients on the best strategy for care at a given point in time.

Who knows, maybe Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter may need some predictive analytics of their own hearts after these matches with Watson.

As for my own perspective, based on what I’ve seen and learned thus far, this time around, this man is betting on the machine.

Written by turbotodd

February 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

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