IBM’s Watson: Implications of Watson to Enterprise IT

By Jim Willette (Sunrise e-Services) and Karla Houser

If you watched IBM's Watson take on and soundly defeat the two ranking champions on Jeopardy!, you were probably both impressed and occasionally amused at some of Watson's answers. You may have also wondered how, or even if, this impressive mix of hardware and software technology impacts real-world situations.

As Enterprise IT professionals, we know that the real test of the technology behind Watson lies in applying the underlying data management, natural language processing and analytics technology in both business and government situations. Will it really work in the real world?

Watson is an impressive milestone in the development of Artificial Intelligence. However, from the outside looking in, there appears to be much more work left to do so that we, as IT professionals, can deploy the technology against business problems even in limited domains such as health care, search engine optimization or service desks. The technologies that power Watson may soon find their way into a variety of software applications and robots. I can picture the day when we have an actual smart computer, maybe a “Data” from Star Trek, which can interact with us as humans as if it were a person.

As SHARE looks to the future of IT technology and real-world uses of technology, from both near and longer-term perspectives, the implications of Watson and similar efforts appear to be huge. As part of the volunteer team at SHARE, we are proud that SHARE is able to offer a series of sessions on the business implications of Watson to Enterprise IT. These sessions offer both a behind the scenes look at IBM's Watson as well as a look into the potential business implications of applying the underlying systems, data management and analytics technology in business and across different industries. These sessions begin on Wednesday morning and continue through Thursday noon. The sessions are:

· 9575: “Beyond Watson: Technology Implications Today and In the Future” on Wednesday at 8 a.m.

· 9577: “Behind Watson: The Hardware and Software (Linux on Power) Used to Deliver Watson” on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

· 9502: “Beyond Watson: Applying Watson and Analytics to Your Business Needs” on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

· 9581: “Behind Watson: The Turing Test - Machine or Human?” on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.

· 9503: “Beyond Watson: The Business Implications of Big Data” on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

· 9505:” Beyond Watson: The Business Uses of Natural Language Processing” on Thursday at 8 a.m.

· 9583: “Behind Watson: Project Management: Choosing the Right Technology Platform for the Building of Watson"" on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

· 9341: “Seven Reasons Why Information Technology Projects Fail” on Thursday at 11a.m.

We look forward to hearing the speakers’ perspectives on IBM’s Watson and learning from their experiences. Hopefully, you will be able to attend some or all of these sessions and be willing to SHARE your thoughts with us about these exciting technology advances and their potential for life in the “real world.” Look for Watson sessions in your Onsite Guide – they are marked with a “W” icon. If you’d like to meet and SHARE your ideas, wander by Southern Hemisphere I-II on Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll be looking for you.

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