In 2011 Watson absolutely rubbished former Jeopardy champions and greats Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Outside of Watson Health which was launched last year, we haven’t heard much from Watson, but he’s back and back “in the flesh.”

IBM Wants Watson To Live Our Life

IBM wants Watson to feel

IBM is interested in Watson doing a Pinocchio, you know, turning into a real boy. Or at least, a real boy that can read, understand human emotions through that reading and still smack Ken Jennings around in front of the ageless Alex Trebek.

Essentially, IBM is saying that in order for Watson to truly be useful it needs to be able to address your needs, and in order for that to happen it needs to understand how you’re feeling in order to have an impact in conversation with you.

“Computers will communicate with us on our terms. They will adapt to our needs, rather than us having to interpret and adapt to them”, said Rob High, chief technology officer at IBM’s Watson Solutions at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose.

As Watson showed on Jeopardy, the AI team has really made some important inroads into speech and image recognition, language translation (Alex Trebek does love to show the world that he speaks French) as well as in the field of autonomous cars.

IBM, with Watson, is certainly not the only company interested in having computers interact better with humans and I doubt it will come as much of a surprise when I say this is of major importance to the search engine giant that is Google.

Google still makes the lion’s share of its money from advertising that specifically targets you, adding the ability for a computer to truly understand your emotions would only add to this massive revenue stream.

IBM believes that they can get a cognitive system in place for Watson within a decade and the applications and uses for a computer that understands the hesitance in your voice, or excitement in your voice coupled with an understanding of additional emotions is exciting and, lets be honest, truly frightening to many. Watson actually already has tone analyzer API for human voices but not an understanding of a written tone. It would be nice if someday because of IBM’s work with Watson my phone would stop me from sending that drunk text based on the content. A prompt something akin to “You sure you want to send that Brendan,” would be invaluable, and too late for a number of my past relationships.

Other uses for Watson and AI

The ability to analyze longer pieces of text from a person could help recruiters find the ideal candidate by measuring things like conscientiousness, introversion, passion, a sense of humor (might be a stretch) and other factors.

“Computers will communicate with us on our terms,” said Rob High in IBM’s announcement this week.  “They will adapt to our needs, rather than us having to interpret and adapt to them.” As AI starts to hit the mainstream via services such as speech and image recognition, language translation and autonomous cars, the idea of humans and computers working together is a theme that many companies are starting to explore.

In order for this to play out, IBM needs that cognitive computing system in place in order to adapt to us rather than us doing our best to get what the computer is on about.

Forbes India addressed cognitive computing today and the benefits it could bring to the health care system in India.

“Cognitive computing is the simulation of human thought processes by cognitive systems. Cognitive computing systems interact with humans and learn from every interaction. They help humans make better decisions by providing insights. These insights are derived using big data cognition i.e. by crunching, analysing and identifying patterns in large, complex, structured and unstructured data sets,” wrote the author in a recent report.