Technological progress is accelerating at a rapid pace. What we could only see in science fiction movies is now becoming a reality.

An example one such piece of modern technology is the cognitive system Watson, developed by IBM. The supercomputer is already being used in medicine, education, economy and even cooking.

What is Watson?

Watson  is a computer system that is capable of providing answers to questions posed in natural language. Is is made to apply natural language processing- a combination of computer science, artificial intelligence and linguistics that deals with the relationship between computer language and natural human language.

Additionally, Watson applies information retrieval, knowledge representation, automated reasoning and machine learning to the field of open domain question answering.

This is referred to as QA technology. In this way Watson can provide you with any kind of information that it has stored or with a piece of information that is a combination of data the computer combined and made sense of.

Cognitive Computing

CC is used for handling human problems that are often characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty. Cognitive systems make context computable by analyzing to it. They wade through huge amounts of data to narrow down their choice of the best possible answer to a specific question.

They must decipher many pieces of information and therefore have to be adaptive, interactive, useful and contextual. Watson’s abilities were tested in the game show Jeopardy!, in which the computer had to play against the best contestants in the history of the quiz.

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After a few tries, when Watson was completely ready and updated, it blew the human competition away and took $ 1 .000 000. Pretty impressive, huh?


Watson is a system that has to be able to adapt to many different kinds of situations. It will be used in schools and educational facilities and it is already in use at the Deakin University in Australia.

It is utilized in various fields of medicine as a sort of a virtual consultant for nurses and doctors. It is even used in cooking. Watson became a chef by receiving information about different combinations of food and  tastes.  Now,  a person would never mix cherries and mushrooms, but actually it is apparently a very interesting, pleasant new taste that could only be created with the help of this cognitive system.

In Education

IBM and Australia’s Deakin University teamed up to transform the student experience on a large scale. 50 000 students will be able to go online and ask Watson questions.

In the beginning, those questions will be very simple, relating to information about the location of certain classrooms, methods of payment etc. Once stored, Watson will be able to give out any of that information to new students, providing them with a quick and smooth sail through their days of study.

They still have to learn, of course, just like Watson does.

It contextualizes the questions making new possible answers based on experience with previous data providing the correct pieces of information instantly.

In Business

It has been announced that IBM Watson will be providing free business analytics in order to help smaller businesses out. Watson Analytics is now in public beta testing mode.

The plan is to turn WA into a freemium app where users would pay to get additional data and take advantage of additional Watson services. It provides the user with charts and infographics based on a spreadsheet or some other type of document.

IBM explains it better in the following statement:

            “As part of its effort to equip all professionals with the tools needed to do their jobs better, Watson Analytics provides business professionals with a unified experience and natural language dialogue so they can better understand data and more quickly reach business goals.”

In Medicine

The Veteran Health Administration is currently testing Watson. In this period they are not using it on real patients because they want to prepare it and its knowledge base until it is ready to work perfectly when encountered with a problem.

It will enable physicians to input information in natural language, process huge amounts of big data and uncover patterns which will be very useful when treating new patients.

Watson is a cognitive system which can be succefully applied in a number of fields. It is a revolutionary invention in the world of computer science and I hope that we will be seeing more of it our near future.

Posted by Dan Radak

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites.