KMWorld Column

Pragmatic Steps Towards Cognitive Computing – Footprints on the Microsoft Desktop

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By Jeff Fried
Guest Columnist

The vision of cognitive computing—a collaboration between people and computers that magnifies human reason and insight—is incredibly exciting. It’s not just hype and vision; there are some remarkable, and real, early applications out there. But this morning, as I was working through my email, I realized I’m already using cognitive ...

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An evolution in computing

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With interest and activity in the field of cognitive computing heating up, a succinct definition of cognitive computing and an overview of some of the technologies behind it might be useful. I’ll also share a few of the practical applications that are emerging in the field. They are already demonstrating just how effective cognitive computing can be at helping answer complex questions.

At its core, cognitive computing is a collaboration between people and computers with a simple goal: to magnify human ...

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Cognitive Computing: Life Imitates Popular Culture

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The pivotal moment in The Imitation Game when viewers knew that Alan Turing and his MI6 colleagues were going to win the day was also the moment they saw the first foreshadowing of cognitive computing—where processes were developed that used a hybrid of man and machine to attack problems beyond the understanding of either.

Turing, the subject of the movie and the book by the same name, was the first to theorize ...

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Need a Digital Assistant?

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We’ve been talking to several startup and spinout firms whose intention is to thread cognitive software into a new generation of digital assistant applications tightly focused on specific fields of expertise. Think smart apps for health insurance providers seeking to optimize their decisions on coverage across millions of different kinds of conditions and treatment options. Or financial portfolio analysis assistants incorporating comprehensive recommendations from professional research, breaking news, social media commentary ...

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Soul of a New Machine?

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Tracy Kidder’s classic 1981 bestseller The Soul of a New Machine chronicles relentless work by teams of Data General engineers to design a next-generation mini-computer. How it all gets done isn’t necessarily pretty and looks just like hard work, buffeted by personalities, morale, ambition, deadlines, compromises. But the machine became a leader in its field and enabled the company to command a strong position in the then brand new era ...

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Making Healthcare Cognitive

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Most professions rely on precise data to make decisions. Can you imagine erecting a building without numeric measurements, angles and detailed plans? Healthcare data is not as precise. In fact, the most valuable data is often unstructured notes recorded from patient and doctor visits or encounters. Correctly interpreting that type of data can be literally a matter of life or death. The ability to accurately interpret unstructured data is essential, especially ...

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Cognitive Computing: A Definition and Some Thoughts

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Computers are one of those artifacts of modern life that we love to hate. They are powerful, pervasive, intrusive and, let’s face it, clumsy to use. Today’s applications require us to break down complex, subtle ideas into simplistic statements. We must learn arcane codes to speak their language. They are incapable of assisting us in an evolving knowledge voyage because their understanding breaks down as our context or intentions change.

Quietly, though, ...

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Cognitive Computing: Why Now and Why It Matters

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We are arguably in the midst of a profound shift in computing, from programmatic to so-called cognitive, where intelligent workflows are no longer simply encoded into machines, but are rather discovered automatically through observations of best practices. Many would say that smart systems and data mining have been around for a while, so what is so different now? It turns out that it is not so much about new algorithms, but rather about new engineering approaches, invented out of the ...

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Cognitive Computing: Beyond the Hype

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Disruptions happen when three elements converge: market needs, available technologies, and an environment of experimentation and adventure. Those all exist today, and cognitive computing is one innovation at that crossroads. Some would argue it is the industry’s most important one.

In 2011, when IBM’s Watson soundly defeated the two leading human Jeopardy champions, it also established cognitive computing as a new phenomenon to be watched. Cognitive computing could become an important ...

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