One Year After Launch, IBM’s Watson Is Still Improving
Early last year, NEC member IBM launched its supercomputer, Watson, commercially. In the year since its launch, the Watson Group has worked with partners to build 6,000 apps and has made the computer smaller and smarter.
Watson first shot to fame in 2011 when it competed against former Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on the trivia game show. Since beating the two in the 15-question match, Watson has become 24 times smarter and faster, with a 2,400% improvement in performance. In that time, Watson also became 90% smaller, shrinking from the size of a master bedroom to the size of three stacked pizza boxes. Watson can learn in three different ways, by being taught by users, learning from prior interactions and by being given new information. As a result, Watson is able to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence. Watson can accomplish such feats by using natural language processing and analytics which is more similar to the human thought process.
Mike Rhodin, the senior vice president of IBM Watson, said Watson “is really about: How do we actually manage the information to our advantage, so we can become better at things? The creativity and ingenuity of humans, when freed up from mundane repetitive task, has always led to new innovation, throughout history. What we believe is happening now is that the amount of information being produced in the world is overrunning the ability of humans to consume it. When these kinds of things have happened in history, new tools emerge that help humans deal with scale, such as in the industrial revolution.”
The New England Council congratulates IBM on its dedication to making technology that will change and improve the world.