Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The first business application of IBM's "cognitive computer," Watson

IBM has a General Manager for Watson Solutions, implying they expect Watson to do more than beat people on the Jeopardy quiz show.

That General Manager is Manoj Saxena, who announced the first Watson Solution -- a call center service. In the following video, he says call centers receive 261 billion calls per year and human operators perform poorly, resolving only half the issues people report.



The wording of the video is interesting. Mr. Saxena states that Watson is the first of a new generation of "cognitive computers ... a new class of machines that understand human language and are able to learn themselves and program themselves."

There are two Watson call center models -- agent-assisted and self-service -- and IBM says they have ten customers.

When the self-service applications are up and running, it should be possible to conduct a special-case Turing test to see if users can tell whether they are talking with a human or with Watson. I'll be impressed if it passes!